Observation and documentation started right away by the kids who were the most interested.
We realized that the Mantis needed food to survive. When they found out that it ate other insects they were a little upset. We had a discussion about the predictor/prey relationship and after that discussion they were totally fine with feeding it other insects except for dragonflies and ladybugs (They were adamant about that!). About half the class went on a hunt for live insects. I was picturing feeding it a fly or small spider....here is what they decided would be a good meal!
They caught the cricket and I put it into the Mantis' cage. We saw that he became real still. We discussed why. Some thought the Mantis was afraid because the cricket was so big. Others thought he was being sneaky to catch it.
As we were getting ready to go home, they noticed that he caught the cricket! I thought they would be grossed out, but they were fascinated! They whipped those magnifying glasses out to get a closer look! I wish it had happened earlier in the day so they could have observed it more and documented it, but it was time to leave. When we come back on Monday, we will do some research together to find out more about praying mantises and figure out what Praying Mantises like to eat so that we can catch his favorite insects.
We are still exploring leaves, but I will save that for next week!