During the past couple of weeks we have offered the children a selection of materials, clothes pins, pipe cleaners, wiki-stix and a variety of papers. Butterflies, people and bugs were made.  A spider made on Friday was left and discovered by different children the following week.

Caroline picks up the spider and notices how it was made.  We each begin to make one.
You roll it…..you have to do black (legs)
Ellie and Sam join us…
Ellie – 14 legs!  I have all the colorful ones.
I count the legs on my spider 1…2…3…4…oh, I need a lot more legs
Caroline – No. You only need 4!
But Ellie said I need 14?
Sam –  No.  That’s done….2 more actually, you need 6 legs.
What’s next?
Caroline –  Eyes.
Ellie – I’m only doing 4…5 legs.  Mine’s going to be a tarantula!
Caroline –   No.  They have 14 legs
Ellie – Oh that’s a lot Caroline!

Caroline – Make a line for the eyes (with wiki-stix)
Ellie – Mine has long legs
Is it a Daddy Long Legs?
No!  No!  It’s a tarantula.  My dad doesn’t like tarantulas….or spiders.
I don’t mind small spiders – I might not be happy if I saw a tarantula!
Caroline –  It’s a good thing. We’re never gonna see a tarantula.  You know where tarantulas live? … The desert!  I saw a lady going to Martha’s Vineyard who was going to the desert!
Is there a desert on Martha’s Vineyard?
Caroline – No!
Ellie – Mine has really, long legs.  Now I’m doing purple for the bad eyes.  The spider has lived in the desert for 165 million years.
What do spiders eat in the desert?
Caroline – Spiders don’t eat!
They don’t?  I thought they made webs to catch food.
Caroline – No.  This is sad to say….there is no food in the desert.  All the water washed up the food.
Sam – I’ve been in the desert.
What did you see?
Sam – No tarantulas!  I saw an elephant
Caroline – I bet you saw a camel.
Caroline moves her tarantula over to Ellie’s – Look at my tarantula.  Mine can be a baby.

This moves the conversation away from the desert as Will joins us at the table and picks up one of the spiders

This might be a spider.  This needs much more legs. He counts the legs.  1,2,3,4,5,6.  They have 8!  It has 6.  It needs 8.  So I need this one, and this one. (Will chooses 2 more legs and adds them to the spider.)  There.  Eight legs!

As the children build their spiders they share their knowledge.  Though much of what they say is inaccurate there is also much that is accurate: spiders have many legs, there are different kinds of spiders, tarantulas don’t live in Lincoln, the desert is a different environment with different inhabitants, 4 + 2 = 6.  As adults we could just give the children the facts – spiders have eight legs, but if we wait the children may very well come up with that fact by themselves and others besides.