Interpreting Student Responses for What they Know

Reproduction, male – female, and Using Evidence to Make Conclusions

Activity - Students observe butterflies emerge from a chrysalises in the classroom.

Teacher asks students to review what they know about butterflies to add to their butterfly journals.

Beginning of the student discussion with interpretations of what they know.

Student response

Possible interpretations

Chris
I think butterflies are girls because they are so pretty and moths are all boys because they aren’t.

 Application of coloration differences between sexes in some species.

Another student
I don’t get it. How could butterflies mate if they are only girls?

Another student
How could moths mate if they are only boys?

Another student
Maybe not all butterflies lay eggs.

Another student
There are boy butterflies or how could they mate:

Suggests the idea that reproduction takes two sexes.

Matt
Not all butterflies lay eggs.
Maybe some don’t lay eggs. Maybe girl moths lay eggs. But there are boy moths too.

Suggest a comparison between butterflies and moths.

Suggests the idea that females lay eggs and males don't.

Rae
If they were only girl butterflies and boy moths, then how could moths lay eggs and butterflies lay moths? The butterflies can’t marry the moths.

Seems to build on the idea that females lay eggs and males don't.

Argues from evidence that different species cannot reproduce together to deduce there must be male and female moths and butterflies.

Juan
How can moths lay eggs? Silk worms turn into moths. The silkworm turns to moths that lay eggs. If butterflies don’t... a lot do lay eggs... a lot don’t...

Attempts to use facts about a silkworm turning to a moth and the moth then lays eggs.

Leslie
Moths don’t have to lay babies, because some don’t.

Circular reasoning

Leslie
Maybe some butterflies lay eggs? My dad didn’t have any babies.

Suggests the female gender is related to laying eggs and male isn't.

Tessa
The butterfly couldn’t find the moth because the moths spend most of their time camouflaged against a tree and the butterfly won’t even know they’re there.

Uses evidence to support the idea that moths and butterflies cannot mate.

Knows the concept of camouflage and butterfly coloration.

Jose
They couldn’t find each other because butterflies fly in the day and moths fly at night sometimes, and silkworm moths don’t fly.

Suggests the idea that reproduction takes two sexes.

Uses evidence to support the idea that moths and butterflies cannot mate. Knows that some moths fly at night, and that silkworm moths do not fly at all.

Molly
The boys have to have women. It takes a man and a woman.

Suggests the idea that reproduction takes two sexes.

Jaime
A silkworm needs wings and an antenna. Silkworm moths don’t fly. If they were in a house they couldn’t get out to find the butterfly.

Suggests the idea that reproduction takes two sexes.

Uses evidence to support the idea that moths and butterflies cannot mate.

Jake
Maybe It’s like peacocks. The boys have all the colors and the girls don’t. Since the butterflies have colors they’re boys and moths have no color, then they’re the girls? But not all.

Suggests the idea that reproduction takes two sexes.

Uses evidence about sex-linked coloration to deduce sexes.

 

Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©