Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

#2602. Caterpillar to Butterfly

Science, level: Elementary
Posted Thu Jul 18 09:06:14 PDT 2002 by Adria (
First Grade , Pottstown, PA
Materials Required: Listed in lesson
Activity Time: 6 lessons
Concepts Taught: Thematic Lesson

Lesson Title:
Caterpillar to Butterfly
Subject Area:
Integrated Thematic Unit
Audience Grade Level:
First Grade
Lesson Purpose:
The purpose of this lesson is for the student to understand the life cycle of a butterfly and the four stages in this cycle.
Lesson Objectives:
1. 1. The students will be able to identify the four stages of a butterfly's life cycle.
2. The students will be able to define the word "metamorphosis".
3. The students will be able to draw and lable the stages of a butterfly's life cycle.
4. The students will understand the concept of symmetry.
Lesson Activities

Lesson Activity #1 (Introduction):
We will begin with a class discussion of what the children already know about butterflies. We will complete the "K" and "W" part of a class "KWL" chart with there answers. The teacher will then read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle to the children. When the story is finished, the children will be asked to draw a picture recreating the main things they noticed the caterpillar doing in the story. The children would also need to write a sentence describing their picture. We would then use these pictures to create a class caterpiallar in the hallway

Lesson Activity #2:
The teacher would review with the students what they noticed in the story yesterday. The teacher would then display a poster showing the life cyce broken down in to the four stages. She would then give each child four index cards where they would create each stage on one card and lable using art supplies (ex. a bean for egg, pipe cleaner for caterpillar, pasta for chrysalis, tissue paper for butterfly). The children would then need to glue their four cards in the correct order on a piece of construction paper.

Lesson Activity #3:
Write the word "metamorphosis" on the board. Ask the children if they know what it means. Have them explore this "big" word by generating a list of "baby" words that they can find hidden inside. When children are comfortable with such a large word give them definition. Have them write about "metamorphosis" of a butterfly in their journal.

Lesson Activity #4:
The children are put in to 4 groups. Each group selects a card (cards have: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly on them). That group needs to make a poster sized illustration of there topic. They then need to write what they know about that stage on a piece of chart paper and present to class. All four will be hung on bulletin board as our class version of the life cycle of a butterfly.

Lesson Activity #5:
The teacher will show the children pictures of a butterly's wings in "The Butterfly Alphabet Book". She will ask for the children to brainstorm what they noice. Are they alike, different, etc? She will then write the word "symmetry" on the board and explain the meaning. The children will then cut out construction paper butterflys and use paint on one side, then fold to make the paint go on the other side and be symmetrical.

Lesson Activity #6 (Wrap-Up):

Students will create their very own versions of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" using all of their new knowledge on the life cycle of the butterfly. They will publish thier book and share it in an "Author's Circle" with the class. Assessment will be that their story includes the four stages.

Additional Notes:
First graders love the butterfly unit! Most of the lessons are short and the entire unit lasts a few weeks while they are actually watching the caterpillars in our class (from a science kit) turn into butterflies. Many of the sites that I used are resources for the teacher, however the enchantedlearning site is a great one that the kids can use and be able to read and navigate through successfully.