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Hotchalk Global

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The life cycle of a butterfly is taught here with books, poems, story assignments, and pasta art


Art, Language Arts, Science  


K, 1  

Title – Life Cycle of a Butterfly
By – Michelle McCumber
Primary Subject – Science
Secondary Subjects – Language Arts
Grade Level – K-1

INSTRUCTIONAL GOAL: The purpose of this lesson is to familiarize the students with the life cycle stages of a butterfly.

RATIONALE: As part of an animal unit, this lesson will teach students about the various stages of a butterfly’s life, and how these stages are similar to ours.


  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • A Butterfly Is Born by Melvin Berger (prior day)
  • Poem, Butterfly Life Cycles , by Meish Goldish
  • Paper plates (one per student)
  • Colored pencils (handful per table)
  • Ziploc bags (one per student)
  • Glue
  • Bright Butterflies Worksheet
  • Sequencing HW sheet
  • Various forms of pasta (prepared in Ziploc bags by the teacher)
    • pastina (egg)
    • curly colored pasta (caterpillar or larva)
    • shell pasta (cocoon or pupa)
    • bow-tie pasta (adult butterfly)

OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to:

  • Listen attentively to the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
  • Identify the four different stages of a butterfly life cycle (from egg, caterpillar, pupa or cocoon, to a full-grown adult butterfly).
  • Compare and contrast fiction and non-fiction books about butterflies.
  • Design their own butterfly life cycle plates.
  • Explain and share the stages of a butterfly’s life.
  • Recite a poem about a butterfly life cycle by Meish Goldish.
  • Write a short story of where the adult butterfly might go after the cycle is over.

CONTENT OF LESSON: Students will be made aware of things such as:

  • The first stage of the life cycle is the egg.
  • The egg is the size of a pencil point.
  • The second stage of the life cycle is the caterpillar or the larva stage.
  • When the caterpillar hatches, it eats its shell and then leaves.
  • The third stage of the life cycle is the cocoon or the pupa.
  • The pupa, at first is a light green color with gold spots and then becomes clear in color.
  • At the clear stage of the cocoon, we can begin to observe the wings of the butterfly.
  • The last stage of the life cycle is the adult butterfly.
  • Before the butterfly can fly it’s wings must be dry and strong.
  • Then the animal life cycle begins all over again.


    The teacher will invite the children to the carpet and ask: “Who can remember what insect we read about yesterday”? The teacher will reactivate prior knowledge and discuss the term CYCLE with the students. Describe to the students that a cycle of life is also the different stages of life. Ask, “Can you describe the stages of your life? As “a class, discuss the fact that the stages of our lives are very similar to the life cycle of a butterfly. As the teacher, you can compare the egg, caterpillar, pupa or cocoon, and adult butterfly stage to our baby, toddler, teenager and adult stages of our lives.

PROCEDURES: The teacher will:

      1.Invite the students to the carpet.

      2.Introduce the reading selection

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

      by Eric Carle.

      3.With the class, review some of the prior facts discussed about the life and stages of a butterfly.

      4.Reinforce prior knowledge of fiction and non-fiction reading selections about butterflies.

      5.Pose a few high orders of thinking questions for the students, such as:

      • Where did you come from?
      • Can you describe the stages of your life?
      • How are the stages of your life similar to the stages of a butterfly?

      6.Compare and contrast the stages of the butterfly to the stages of a human. Explain that a butterfly develops through four main stages: egg, caterpillar, cocoon and adult butterfly, while the human develops through main stages: baby, child, teenager and adult.

      7.Explain independent activity and provide model.

      8.Invite the students back to their seats.

      9.Distribute a paper plate to each of the students.

      10.Invite the students to take a colored pencil and make four equal parts.

      11.Model this concept for the students, while walking around and monitoring the students’ progress.

      * Modified for Integrated students*

      12.Direct the students’ in the labeling process. The students will need to write the four different stages of the life of a butterfly.

      * Modified for Integrated students*

      13.Distribute a small Ziploc bag to each student. The Ziploc bag will contain four different types of pasta. Each piece of pasta will symbolize the various stages of the life of a butterfly.

      14.Direct the students in placing the appropriate pieces of pasta in the correct life stage of the butterfly.

    15.Instruct a clean up.

*All procedures are adjusted and adapted to meet individual needs of integrated students. *


      Upon completion of the hands-on activity, the students will be re-directed back to the carpet. Teacher will ask various students to share their interpretations of the butterfly life cycle plate. The student will explain the different stages. The teacher will introduce the

Butterfly Life Cycle

    poem by Meish Goldish. The poem will act as a form of reinforcement for the students. The teacher will read (sing) the poem aloud and ask students to try the second time together.


    The students will be asked, as a hands-on activity, to complete their own interpretation of the life cycle of a butterfly. The students will complete this activity with macaroni as a manipulative.


      In Class: Students who complete the activity quickly, will complete a short story on butterfly paper, about where their butterfly will go after it completes the life cycle (Bright Butterflies).
    At Home: Students will complete a mapping/sequencing ELA sheet


      Short Term: The students will be able to create a butterfly life cycle plate identifying each stage of the cycle. Various students will share their own interpretation of the life cycle of a butterfly.
    Long Term: The students will be asked to talk about the various stages of the life cycle of the butterfly, while comparing them to the life cycle stages of a human.

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