Exploring the natural resources of Asian cultural awareness may mean discovering the art of creating pearls, growing bean sprouts, raising silk worms and learning to make a cage for a cricket. These activities capture the interest of young children, promote hobbies and also suggest experiences outside the classroom.
Plan to introduce the Asian cultural awareness and raising of silkworms when mulberry leaves are available. Parents as well as children delight in this adventure. Place the eggs in a large glass container, aquarium or fish bowl. After the eggs hatch into worms, place a piece of nylon net over the opening of the container. Silkworms must be fed mulberry leaves every day. They eat on the mulberry leaves continuously until time for spinning the cocoon, about three weeks. The silkworm secretes a fluid which hardens into silk thread. The worm winds this thread around itself
To form a cocoon. When the moths come out of the cocoon, in about three weeks, the children are eager to observe the process of reproduction and the laying of new eggs. To store the eggs for next year, place the eggs in an air-tight container in refrigerator. Read about silkworms in a children’s encyclopedia. Beautiful dresses, shirts and blouses are made of cloth woven from silk thread. Show clothing to the children.
to make recycled paper, use two frames with a piece of
Screen stapled to each frame. Tear old newspaper and soak it in warm water. Mix it with the water so that you have a pulp. Place frames on top of each other with the screen side up. Put the frames into the wet water to get the paper pulp on the frame. Take the frame out of the water, smooth the paper pulp, and drain. Put the frame, upside down, on paper towels. The pulp will be on the paper towel. Use a sponge to dry the screen side. Take the screen off the paper towel and use more paper towels to dry the pulp. Remove the paper towels from the recycled paper. Iron the square of paper with a medium warm iron. Children paint or mark on the paper. This Chinese method of paper making as we know it today is adapted by Ann Wiseman. See bibliography.
a common Asian food is bean sprouts. To grow bean sprouts, plant dried beans in small containers. Transplant some of the seedlings to the outdoor garden. Cut and taste the other bean sprouts. Put dried lentils into a large container. Cover the beans with a wet paper towel. Keep the paper towel moist. The lentils sprout very soon. Children eat the sprouts during the week as they sprout. Bring a can of bean sprouts for tasting.
Children in Japan hunt for crickets. They put the crickets into small cages and listen to their song. Display a small cricket cage and go hunting for crickets. Put them into the cage.
Some children make their own cages for crickets from small berry baskets and pipe cleaners. Place tops of two baskets together. Fasten rims of the baskets together with the pipe cleaners.