This unit, “The Life Cycle of Butterflies”, introduces students to life cycles using butterflies as the main organism to study. Throughout this unit students will learn to observe, record data, and appreciate the needs of living things.
STANDARDS AND INDICATORS:
1.3 – Organisms change in form and behavior as part of their life cycles.
GRADE-LEVEL CONCEPT: u Some organisms undergo metamorphosis during their life cycles; other organisms grow and change, but their basic form stays essentially the same.
GRADE-LEVEL CONCEPT: u Plants and animals have structures and behaviors that help them survive in different environments.
KEY SCIENCE VOCABULARY: adaptation, camouflage, hibernation, life cycle, egg, metamorphosis, structures (body parts), amphibian, tadpole, gills, lungs, insect, caterpillar
CONCEPTS: Need to know about…
SKILLS: Be able to do:
Ø Observing, describing, and recording growth and change in the larva.
Ø Predicting, comparing, and discussing the larva’s appearance and change over time.
Ø Communicating observations through drawing and writing.
Ø Relating observations of the butterfly’s life cycle to students’ own growth and change.
Ø Extending knowledge of butterflies through reading.
· Insects shed their “skin” when they molt.
In fact, all insects have an exoskeleton, not skin. When butterflies molt, they shed the exoskeleton and grow another one.
· Record liquid that comes out from the tail end of the butterfly is blood.
The record liquid is meconium, or waste tissue, that is left over from metamorphosis.
Butterflies undergo a complete metamorphosis during their life cycle as do many other organisms. Some organisms grow and change, however, their basic form basically stays the same. Through observations children can appreciate the needs of living things and develop an interest in studying insects.
What are the four stages of a butterfly’s life cycle?
ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS TO GUIDE INSTRUCTION AND ASSESSMENT:
· What do caterpillars need to survive and grow?
· How do caterpillars transform into a chrysalis?
· How does a chrysalis transform into a butterfly?
MATH SKILLS TAUGHT/USED:
Lesson 1: Pre-Assessment - Getting Ready for Caterpillars
(See pp 7-14 of STC Kit; Pre-Assessment pp 13-14)
Lesson 2: Caring for Caterpillars
· Students prepare the food cups and learn how to care for the caterpillars.
· Students learn how to use a magnifying glass
· Students make and record their first observations of the caterpillars.
(See pp 15-20 of STC Kit)
Lesson 3: Learning More about Caterpillars
· Students learn about the characteristics that living things share.
· Students become aware of what living things need to survive.
· Students recognize the specific needs of their caterpillars.
· Students observe how caterpillars grow and change.
(See pp 23-26 of STC Kit)
*Extension: Making Predictions
Lesson 4: Observing the Caterpillars
(See pp 27-32 of STC Kit)
*Extension: Students design own caterpillar model
Lesson 5: Observing Change: Growth and Molting
(See pp 33-37 of STC Kit)
*Extension: Children dramatize how a caterpillar moves in order to shed its skin.
Lesson 6: Silk Spinning
(See pp 39-42 of STC Kit)
· *Extensions: Research how silk is produced and used in our everyday lives.
§ Compare/contrast the ways caterpillars and spiders use silk.
(Choose one of the following to read to your students:
Spinning Spiders by Melvin Berger and S.D. Schindler, or
Are You A Spider? by Judy Allen.
Lesson 7: From Caterpillar to Chrysalis
· Students observe the J-shape that precedes the caterpillar’s transformation into a chrysalis.
· Students witness the final molt that results in the chrysalis, if possible.
· Teacher assesses student progress in learning caterpillar anatomy and finds out how much students know about butterfly anatomy.
(See pp 43-49 of STC Kit)
*Assessment 1 – Caterpillar anatomy
Lesson 8: Observing the Chrysalis
(See pp 51-55 of STC Kit)
*Extensions: Students can act out the life cycle of the butterfly using a puppet sock (the caterpillar), paper bag (the chrysalis), and a butterfly made out of construction paper (p. 53)
Lesson 9: The Butterfly Emerges
(See pp 57-67 of STC Kit)
Lesson 10: Feeding the Butterflies
(See pp 67-71 of STC Kit)
Lesson 11: The Butterfly’s Body
(See pp 73-78 of STC Kit)
· Venn Diagram comparing student’s body to the body of the butterfly.
· Make butterfly kites. Students can write a cinquain poem inside the butterfly or write a goodbye letter to their butterfly.
Lesson 12: The Butterflies Go Free
(See pp 79-80 of STC Kit)
§ Have a picnic celebration celebrating the release of the butterflies. Serve butterfly crackers or cupcakes and juice. Students can fly kites made in Lesson 11. Read When It Comes to Bugs by Aileen Fisher, which is a collection of poems to read to students.
Lesson 13: Using Our Data
(See pp 83-85 of STC Kit)
*Extension: Students graph the length of time it took for the life cycle changes to
Lesson 14: Discovering that Butterflies Are Insects
(See pp 87-90 of STC Kit)
Lesson 15: Researching Other Life Cycles
(See pp 91-95 of STC Kit)
* Students research the life cycle of other animals.
See: How It Grows Series By Pamela Nash (includes life cycles of the frog, bird, pony, etc.); Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones by Ruth Heller; and The Silkworm Story by Jennifer Coldrey
Lesson 16: Post-Assessment
*Please check sites to ensure material has not been altered since publication!
Follow the migration of the monarch butterfly
Bill Nye explains life cycles and shows why many different living things have similar life cycles.