Spring is filled with so many fun and engaging topics of study! Every year, I look forward to diving into exciting new science units with my students. One of my students’ favorites is always the life cycle of the butterfly. Every year it seems this topic is truly captivating to kiddos, making student engagement a breeze! Today I am sharing my absolute favorite books, lessons, and activities to teach your students all about the butterfly life cycle!
INTRODUCE THE BUTTERFLY LIFE CYCLE
As with any new unit or topic, I love to start with books! Read aloud books are a great way to introduce a new unit of study and set the stage for your upcoming lessons.
In my Butterfly Life Cycle Unit, I made a full-color reader to use with my class. The book describes butterflies, names butterfly body parts, discusses their habitat, life cycle, and more! Reading this to your class is a great introductory activity for this unit.
After we read through it as a group, I like to make it available for students to look at afterward in our library, it’s always a hit!
In addition to my informational reader, I like to have a few other books on hand about butterflies.
I read these to the class and then leave them in my student library for my kiddos to flip through.
Some of my favorites for this topic are:
- The Amazing Life Cycle of Butterflies by Kay Barnham
- A Butterfly’s Life Cycle by Mary Dunn
- A Butterfly’s Life by Donna Rice
- Butterflies for Kids by Lauren Davidson
- Caterpillar to Butterfly by Laura Marsh
WORK ON VOCABULARY
Once you have done your introduction on butterflies, I love to do some vocabulary work. Included in my Butterfly Life Cycle Unit, you will find a variety of word wall cards. I usually go through these cards with my whole class, asking for volunteers to define the word if they remember it from our books.
Afterward, I always display them on a pocket chart. Keeping them displayed during the duration of our study provides a great visual for my students when we work on writing activities and other lessons in this unit.
Also in my butterfly unit, you will find anchor charts that detail the butterfly life cycle as well as butterfly and caterpillar body parts.
These are also great to discuss during this time and see who can recall some vocabulary words. I like to run through these as a class, display them on my board and then have my students work on the labeling activities provided for each of these charts.
Students will color the anchor charts, cut out the vocabulary words and glue them to the correct spot. These are great for really making sure your littles get a firm grasp on the many vocabulary words touched on in this lesson!
BUTTERFLY READING & COMPREHENSION
After vocabulary, I like to work on reading with my students. In my butterfly resource, you will find a mini reader that comes in 2 versions.
The first option has a simple read and color format that details the life cycle of the butterfly. The second option allows students to read the book, color and cut out illustrations, and then paste them to the correct page. Choose what works best for your students and their skill level!
Once they have read through the book, there is also a comprehension activity. This activity comes in 3 versions to allow for differentiation and varied skill levels as well.
This worksheet asks students questions about the reader and where they found their answers in the books. These activities are perfect for your small groups!
BUTTERFLY WRITING ACTIVITIES
In my Butterfly Life Cycle Unit, I have included SO many fun writing activities for you to try with your students. All of these writing activities will provide the opportunity to test your students’ knowledge, assess for comprehension and challenge them to think about what they have learned.
- Butterfly Life Cycle Recap: I love using the included butterfly life cycle chart to see if my students remember what happens in each stage of the butterfly life cycle. Students will write a sentence and draw a picture to illustrate each stage of the life cycle. This is a perfect activity to follow the mini readers!
- Can/Have/Are Charts: Next, dive into what caterpillars and butterflies “can/have/are”. I like to do this activity with my small groups so that I can facilitate some brainstorming and get my students started. Be sure to have those anchor charts and vocabulary cards handy to encourage independent writing!
- Butterfly Flap Book: One of my favorite activities in this unit is the butterfly flap book! It’s such a cute project to send home and will reinforce those vocabulary words. Students assemble their own book to reveal a picture of vocabulary words when they open the flaps on their book.
In this resource, you will find some additional writing activities that you can weave into your butterfly life cycle unit. I like using a different writing activity after each new skill or concept. Writing is such a great way for students to assimilate the new information they have learned.
BUTTERFLY LIFE CYCLE IN ACTION
Have you ever raised butterflies in your classroom? If you haven’t, I HIGHLY recommend giving it a try! It’s really a very simple classroom activity and will truly bring this unit to life! I recommend this Insect Lore Butterfly Habitat. It’s fairly inexpensive and comes with everything you need, including a voucher to redeem for caterpillars! Just be sure to plan ahead a bit to allow for shipping of your caterpillars.
Once they arrive, you will be able to watch them transform from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterflies! This activity is always a HUGE hit with the kiddos and really helps them understand the butterfly life cycle.
As you watch for the day-to-day changes, it’s really fun to record observations in the Butterfly Observation Journal, also included in my unit! On each page, students will identify the current stage of the life cycle, write down any additional observations and draw a picture of what they see.
This is a great time to ask your students what they think will happen next and refer back to those anchor charts! This activity will get your little ones thinking and bring this lesson full circle.
Last but not least, I have the cutest butterfly craftivity FREEBIE for you!
As a special thank you for being a reader of my blog, I would love to give you this fun activity for free! This cute and simple craft will allow your students to write down some of their favorite butterfly facts and color a cute butterfly page topper.
These butterfly crafts are adorable displayed on a spring bulletin board and the kiddos always enjoy reading what their classmates wrote.
Enter your information below to receive the freebie instantly!
Grab these butterfly life cycle activities today
I know you and your students will love these butterfly activities as much as my students and I do. Grab all of these amazing activities in this easy-to-use Butterfly Life Cycle Unit today!
SAVE THESE IDEAS FOR LATER
I hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite lessons and activities for teaching all about butterflies! Don’t forget to save this post to your favorite classroom Pinterest board for when you’re ready to explore the butterfly life cycle with your students!