A new butterfly slowly pulled itself free of its chrysalis as a group of second graders watched in awe Friday. Moments later, the class’s more mature painted lady butterflies were released into the autumn sky.

It was a science lesson come to life for Marie Kervin’s students at Starline Elementary School. For the past two weeks, Kervin has taught the kids about the butterfly life cycle, with the transformation illustrated by six caterpillars she brought to class. Starline’s two other second grade teachers, Lori Felish and Amy Romm, also participated, with each group of students eagerly monitoring their insect collection as each caterpillar built a chrysalis, then came out as a butterfly. The one that emerged in Kervin’s class on Friday was the last straggler.

With the change complete, it was time for the student to say goodbye to the painted ladies. The three classes gathered in the school’s courtyard and watched as the teachers opened the mesh cages, freeing roughly 20 orange, black and white butterflies. Kids waved and smiled as they flew away.

“It was fun,” said Sylvan Osman, 7, who can proudly describe butterflies’ ability to “trick, scare and camouflage” as they attempt to outsmart predators.

Asked if he was sorry to see the butterflies go, Osman said not really because he understood that the butterflies couldn’t survive in captivity.

Caitlin Vechil, 7, was also sanguine about the event, saying that maybe she would see one of the butterflies around town.

Both students also had enjoyed a previous discussion of an ant farm and had a variety of thoughts on the danger levels of bees vs. wasps, with the latter generally considered to be scarier overall.

Kevin said she was happy to see her students so engaged by the living science lessons.

“This makes it more relevant to them,” Kervin added. “It gets everyone energized.”

You can contact the reporter at kburgess@havasunews.com.

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