Life Cycle of a Butterfly
Where do butterflies come from?


Table of Contents:
Understanding & Objectives
    • Core Understanding
    • Learning Objectives
Prior Knowledge
    • Prior knowledge Handout
    • Introduction Powerpoint
Books & Story Time
    • I'm a Hungry Caterpillar
    • Daily Journal on Butterfly
    • Facts about Butterfly with Picture
    • Predictions... When will the butterfly emerge?
Butterfly Art
    • My Crysalis and butterfly
    • Life Cycle Mobile
    • Teacher Rubric
    • Student's Rubric
Free Time & More Exploration
    • Butterfly WRL
Butterfly life cycle
Butterflies and Catepillars
Life cycle
Life science
Focus Content Area:

Secondary Content Area:
Other: English/ Language Arts
Other: Mathematics
Grade Level:

This project was created for first grade teachers to plan and incorporate a life cycle unit into their curriculum. Students will be building on thier prior knowledge of butterflies and life cycles of animals. This site will include ideas of arts and crafts projects, ideas of books to use, worksheets, power point presentation and web links to use with the students as well as to gather up additional information to help develop this project for your own classroom.

For most of the first grade curriculum standards, students must learn about the life cycle of an animal or plant. This project will build on students knowledge about butterflies as well as focus on many content standard areas such as mathematics by using estimation strategies, language arts by doing creative writing in their journals and visual arts by creating caterpillar and butterfly projects. All of these disciplines, along with listening to books, will enhance the students learning process.

Understanding & Objectives:

Core Understanding

1. Learning about the life in the natural world around us helps students to understand our surroundings
2. Reading and writing offer the power to inform and to enlighten students and others who they share this with.
3. Applying mathematical knowledge to real world experience helps students to understand the importance of this knowledge.

Learning Objectives

Prior Knowledge:

Prior knowledge Handout

Before teaching and reading about caerpillars and butterflies, this worksheet should be given to the students to monitor what they already know to help prepare the life cycle lessson. If most students do not know what a caterpillar is, then vocabulary and pictures should be emphazised in more detail than if the students seem to have tons of prior knowledge.

SCI.K.2.c. Students know how to identify major structures of common plants and animals (e.g., stems, leaves, roots, arms, wings, legs).
Grade Two
Life Sciences
SCI.2.2 Plants and animals have predictable life cycles.
SCI.2.2.b. Students know the sequential stages of life cycles are different for different animals, such as butterflies, frogs, and mice.

Introduction Powerpoint

As a class, we wil begin here...

Ask and answer questions by using phrases or simple sentences.

Books & Story Time:

I'm a Hungry Caterpillar

Read the Book, The Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle; introduce the author, and the illustrator as well as the book. What do the students think this story is about? What they think will happen? Have the students make predictions.
Scaffold and front load vocabulary such as caterpillar and leaf for the students before starting the story. After reading the book talk about what the caterpillar ate, and why he ate so much.

ELA-1.I.2.2. Respond to who, what, when, where, and how questions.
ELA-1.I.2.6. Relate prior knowledge to textual information.
ELA-1.I.3.0 Literary Response and Analysis
Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level Appropriate Text
ELA-1.I.3.2. Describe the roles of authors and illustrators and their contributions to print materials.
Strand III. Listening and Speaking
ELA-1.III.1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies
ELA-1.III.1.1. Listen attentively.


Daily Journal on Butterfly

The classroom should have real caterpillars as examples for students to observe. Have the students name the caterpillar such as "Suzie."  Students will write in their daily journal about what they see with "Suzie". They will write using descriptive words. Some days the students will respond to writing prompts such as, "how do you think "Suzie" feels in the chrysalis?" In their journal they can also write about Carle’s book  by writing about their favorite part of the book.

ELA-1.II.1.1. Select a focus when writing.
ELA-1.II.1.2. Use descriptive words when writing.
ELA-1.II.2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
ELA-1.II.2.1. Write brief narratives (e.g., fictional, autobiographical) describing an experience.
ELA-1.II.2.2. Write brief expository descriptions of a real object, person, place, or event, using sensory details.

Facts about Butterfly with Picture

Students will review facts they have learned about butterflies as well as books that have been read, and the teacher will write all the ideas on the board. The students and teacher will also review about vocabulary words as well as the order of the life cycle of a butterfly.
Students will then write their story, "I know about butterflies. First... Next...Last..." using their best handwriting, spelling, and sentence writing rules (period and capital letters). Students will then draw a corresponding picture for the story that they have wrote.

ELA-1.II.1.2. Use descriptive words when writing.
ELA-1.II.1.3. Print legibly and space letters, words, and sentences appropriately.
Written and Oral English Language Conventions
ELA-1.II.1.0 Written and Oral English Language Conventions
Sentence Structure
ELA-1.II.1.1. Write and speak in complete, coherent sentences.
ELA-1.II.1.5. Use a period, exclamation point, or question mark at the end of sentences.
ELA-1.II.1.6. Use knowledge of the basic rules of punctuation and capitalization when writing.
ELA-1.II.1.7. Capitalize the first word of a sentence, names of people, and the pronoun I.
ELA-1.II.1.8. Spell three-and four-letter short-vowel words and grade-level-appropriate sight words correctly.


Predictions... When will the butterfly emerge?

Have the students work in groups and make predictions about how long your butterfly will be in their chrysalis. From the prior knowledge power point presentation, one slide said that it takes a butterfly 10-14 days to emerge from the chrysalis, so remind the students of what they read and saw. On chart paper have the students share their predictions and show them how to make a bar graph counting the numbers up. On a calendar mark off how long your butterfly is in the chrysalis while going over the days of the week. Once your butterfly emerges congradulate your students on their good guesses and have a farewell party for your butterfly. 

MA.1.1.2. Represent and compare data (e.g., largest, smallest, most often, least often) by using pictures, bar graphs, tally charts, and picture graphs.

Butterfly Art:

My Crysalis and butterfly

With the help from:

Get ideas about how to help your students create a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis.

Here’s what you need: Here’s what to do:

Trace a butterfly for the students to cut out and color, tell the students to make both halves look the same. Put a small hole at the top of the butterfly’s head.

 Have the students Color the toilet paper tube to look like a chrysalis.

Take pipe cleaner and shape it like the letter "V". Assist the students as they will need to put one point through the little hole in the butterfly’s head and then twist it to look like antennae.

Have the students glue the butterfly to one end of the tongue depressor or ice-cream pop stick. Let the glue dry.

Curl the butterfly’s wings and slide it into the chrysalis.

Students can play with their butterflies by pulling on the stick to make it look like it’s coming out of its chrysalis.

1.1. Describe and replicate repeated patterns in nature, in the environment, and in works of art.

Life Cycle Mobile

Have your students make a mobile that shows the complete metamorphosis of a butterfly from egg to larva (caterpillar) to pupa to adult (the butterfly).

Supplies that you will need:

    * Many colors of construction paper, oak tag, or gift wrap
    * Pencil
    * Scissors
    * Yarn or string
    * Glue stick
    * A sturdy paper plate
    * Markers, crayons, or paint
    * Stapler or tape

Steps for Creating the Life Cycle Mobile:

1. Draw a spiral on a paper plate. Cut along the line.
2. Have the students decorate the paper plate using markers and crayons.
3. Using green construction paper trace a leaf pattern for the students to cut out.
4. have the students draw the tiny caterpiller eggs on the green leaf. (they should be yellow or brown)
5. Draw a caterpillar and have the students cut it out and decorate it as well as the chrysalis that the caterpiller changes into.
6. To make butterfly wings, fold a small piece of paper in half, and draw half a butterfly along the fold line. Have the students cut out the butterfly pattern as well as the body pattern and show them where to glue the body on the wings.
7. Have the students decorate their butterflies.
8. Staple  the stages in the butterfly’s life cycle to string and then to the paper plate for the students.
9. Add an additional string to hang the butterfly life cycle mobile.

Refer to THIS WEBSITE for more butterfly craft ideas

2.3. Demonstrate beginning skill in the manipulation and use of sculptural materials (clay, paper, and papier mach?) to create form and texture in works of art.


Teacher Rubric

As a teacher, constant monitoring should be done to assess knowledge and comprehension of the life cycle of the butterfly. This rubric is for the whole project after it has been completed. It is in the teachers best interest, however, to monitor student's work daily.

Teacher's Butterfly rubric

Student's Rubric

For the students to take responsibility for their writing they can refer to this rubric.

First Grade Writing Rubric


Free Time & More Exploration:

Butterfly WRL

If you would like to learn more about butterfly’s and their life cycle, check out this web site Life Cycle of the Butterfly.