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Life Cycle Lesson Plan: The Life Cycle of a Butterfly

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Objectives:

  • Students will be able to state, identify and describe the four stages in the life cycle of a butterfly.

Questions that encompasses the objective:

  • Compare the stages in the life stages of a butterfly to those of a human. How are they similar, how are they different?

Prepare the Learner: Activating Prior Knowledge. 

How will students prior knowledge be activated?

Warm up by asking students:

  • Ask students to recall the definition of life cycle.

  • A life cycle is the steps or stages in the life, from beginning to end, of a living thing.

Materials and Free Resources to Download for this Lesson: 

Input:
What is the most important content in this lesson?
To reach this lesson’s objective, students need to understand:

  • A life cycle is the stages or steps in the life, from beginning to end, of a living thing.

  • The butterfly life cycle has four stages: eggs, caterpillar, chrysalis/pupa- cocoon, and butterfly.

  • All living things have their own life cycle.

How will the learning of this content be facilitated?

  • In this lesson, students will be initially engaged in a guided learning activity. Students will view and organize pictures that depict the stages in the life cycle of a butterfly.

  • In the next part of the activity, students will confirm the order of the stages in the life cycle of a butterfly. Students will watch a video that describes and names the stages in a butterfly’s life cycle.

 

  • Next, students will work in small groups to develop a puppet show that presents the life cycle of a butterfly and names all four stages.

 

  • Finally, the students will fill out a Venn Diagram that requires students to analyze and synthesize the new information learned by comparing and contrasting it to information they already know. Compare and contrast the stages in the life cycle of a butterfly to that of a human. How are they similar, how are they different?

Time/Application
3-5 minutes
Guided Introduction

Review the class/ agenda with the students:

  • Guided Mini-Lesson: Let’s Look at the Life Cycle of a Butterfly (10 minutes)

  • Activity Part 1:  Butterfly Fly Away (15 minutes)

  • Activity Part 2:   Puppet Show- Butterfly from Beginning to End (15 minutes)

  • Independent Assessment (10 minutes)

10 minutes

Guided Mini-Lesson: Let’s Look at the Life Cycle of a Butterfly

  1. Inform students that you will be working as a class to examine and order pictures depicting the life cycle of a butterfly.

  2. Choose five students to come up to the front of the class and give each one, one of the pictures from Life Cycle of a Butterfly, attached.

  3. Ask the student volunteers with the pictures to walk around the classroom, so that every student can get a close up look at the pictures, then return to the front of the class and stand with the pictures visible to the rest of the class.

  4. Begin the activity by pointing out the pictures that goes first. Say, “I see some nice, green leaves and a pretty pink flower, looks like a good place for a butterfly to…” As you say this move the student with the flower picture (F) to the front of the line.

  5. Ask students what happens next? Responses should indicate that next a butterfly will come and land on the leaf. Put the student with the butterfly on the leaf picture (L) beside the student with the flower picture (F).  

  6. Ask students what happens next? Responses should indicate the butterfly laid eggs on the leaf. Put the student with the eggs on the leaf picture (E) beside the student with the butterfly on the leaf picture (L).

  7. Ask students what happens next? Responses should indicate that a caterpillar will hatch from the eggs. Put the student with the caterpillar picture (C) beside the student with the eggs on a leaf picture (E).

  8. Ask students what happens next? Responses should indicate that the caterpillar goes into a cocoon. Put the student with the picture of the Cocoon (CC) beside the student with the picture of the caterpillar (C).

  9. Ask students what happens next? Responses should indicate that a butterfly emerges from a cocoon. Put the student with the butterfly picture (B) next to the student with the picture of the cocoon (CC).

  10. Ask students if they think they have correctly ordered the stages in the life cycle of a butterfly from beginning to end. Responses should indicate yes.

  11. Attach pictures in order to the board or somewhere in the classroom where they are visible.

15 Minutes

Activity Part 1: Butterfly Fly Away

  1. Inform students that they are going to watch a video about the life cycle of the butterfly.

  2. Play the video Butterfly Fly Away, by Lindsey Toman.

  3. Ask students to name the four stages in the life cycle of a butterfly as stated in the video. Answer: Egg, Caterpillar, Chrysalis/ Pupa- Cocoon, and Butterfly.

  4. Direct students to refer to the pictures from the first activity where you worked as a class to put the steps in the life cycle of a butterfly in order.

  5. Ask students to confirm that the order is correct based on the information of the video.

  6. Ask students to help you label the pictures using the four stages described in the video. Explain that you have more than four pictures, but that is ok.

  7. Ask students which picture shows the eggs, wait for the class response and then write eggs above the picture showing the eggs on the leaf (E).

  8. Ask students which picture shows the Chrysalis or Pupa, wait for the class response and then write Chrysalis/ Pupa above the picture showing the cocoon (C).

  9. Ask students which picture shows the butterfly. Write butterfly above the pictures showing the butterfly (B). There may be some debate here because there are two pictures of butterfly’s but it is necessary to explain that once any living thing reaches its adult or mature stage it is able to reproduce, therefore the butterfly in both pictures is in the same stage of the life cycle; the adult stage.

  10. You should also explain that the first picture, the flower (F) is not part of the butterfly life cycle, but that it is there to show where the life of a butterfly begins, on a leaf, as is explained in Butterfly Fly Away and Eric Carl’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

15 Minutes

Activity Part 2: Puppet Show- Butterfly from Beginning to End  (25 minutes)

  1. Divide students into groups of four.

  2. Explain that each group will be given a set of pictures that depict the life cycle of a butterfly, Butterfly Life Cycle Puppet Cards, attached.

  3. Instruct students that they need to make puppets by cutting out the four picture cards and attaching a popsicle stick to the back of each with tape.

  4. Hand out one set of Puppet Cards and four popsicle sticks to each group and allow time for students to complete the above step.

  5. Inform students that they will need to use the puppets to create a short puppet show (no more than two minutes) that explains the life cycle of a butterfly, similar to the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carl, as read in the YouTube video.

  6. Instruct students that they must use the key words for the stages in a butterfly’s life cycle; eggs, caterpillar, chrysalis or pupa, and butterfly.

  7. Circulate and provide assistance and direction as necessary.

  8. Student groups take turns presenting their puppet shows to the class.  

Closure/Assessment
15 minutes

Independent Assessment:

  • Compare and contrast the stages in the life cycle of a butterfly to those of a human. This will be done on the Venn Diagram.

  • Here are some basic types of responses to look for.

  • A butterfly hatches from eggs, while humans are born live. First a butterfly is a caterpillar, like a human is a baby. Then the butterfly goes into a cocoon to grow and change, an older child or teenager grows and changes, but not inside a cocoon. Then the butterfly emerges as an adult, the final stage in the life cycle, just like adult is the final stage in the human life cycle. The adult butterfly turns into a completely different being as an adult, but humans do not.


Individualized Instruction/Scaffolding

English Language Learners/Students with IEPS will be supported in this lesson through written repetition of new vocabulary words, and multiple representation of vocabulary words through printed images. In addition, scaffolds such as sentence starters and note-taking graphic organizers should be implemented at the teacher’s discretion.

Free Life Cycle of a Butterfly PowerPoint
Classifying Animals PowerPoint & Activities
Ecosystems, Biomes, and Habitats PowerPoint and Activities