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This cooperative learning mini-lesson teaches the differences between butterflies and moths




2, 3  

Title – A Cooperative Learning Mini-Lesson on Butterflies and Moths

By – Beth Baker

Primary Subject – Science

Grade Level – 2-3

Concept/Topic to Teach –

Similarities and Differences in Moths and Butterflies

Standards Addressed:

    NY State Science standard 4.1: Living things are both similar to and different from each other and nonliving things

General Goal:

    Students will understand the differences between butterflies and moths and work together to create a model of either insect.

Specific Objectives:

  • Students will describe characteristics of moths and butterflies
  • Students will work together to create a model of a moth or butterfly

Required Materials:

  • Unlabeled pictures of butterflies and moths
  • Glue, scissors, construction paper, pipe cleaners, markers, etc.

Anticipatory Set (Lead-In):

    Ask students open-ended questions about butterflies or moths they have seen. Where did they see these insects? What did they look like?

Step-By-Step Procedures:

    1. Group students together in groups of 3 or 4.

    2. Pass around unlabeled pictures of moths and butterflies for students to make observations. Students will examine each picture and continue passing them around the room so that all groups have a chance to record their observations.

    3. Have students work together to record the characteristics of butterflies and moths, such as body size, color, antennae shape, position of wings at resting state, time of day of picture.

    4. Once all the pictures have been studied, discuss the groups/findings as a whole class.

    5. Have each group decide on a large scale model of a butterfly or moth to make from the materials provided. They can use any materials they have, as long as they work together. Instruct students to be ready to explain why their model is a butterfly or moth, and where we would find this particular species.

    6. When models are completed, have each group share them with the class.

Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set):

    What have we learned today about butterflies and moths?

Assessment Based On Objectives:

    Use the following rubric for each group to determine if they were able to differentiate between moths and butterflies.

Observer’s Rubric: 4 points possible distributed as follows:

  • Score +1 for: “Butterflies fly by day, but moths prefer to fly by night/they are nocturnal”
  • Score +1 for: “Butterflies fold their wings together when they rest, but moths rest with their wings spread out”
  • Score +1 for: “Butterfly’s antennae are thin with a knob at each end; a moth’s antennae are feathery”
  • Score +1 for: “Butterfly’s body is usually not as thick as a moth’s”

Adaptations (For Students with Learning Disabilities):

    Give students pictures of moths and butterflies and have them point to the characteristics that show the differences and similarities between moths and butterflies.

Extensions (For Gifted Students):

    Gifted students who show interest in this subject could do a project of collecting moths and butterflies at home to bring to the class, or make a diorama showing the different characteristics of moths and butterflies.


Beth Baker


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