Explore a Model UDL Lesson Plan
Click on the button to see how UDL principles have been integrated.
The Life Cycle of Butterflies, Day 1
Grade Level(s): Pre-K–2
This first lesson of two is part of a larger unit that focuses on the life cycle of butterflies, including their habitats, eating habits, and growth cycle. In this particular set of lessons, students will learn about the growth cycle of the butterfly, and will extend that knowledge to understand that the growth cycle of butterflies is different from many other animals. Students will engage in several different activities to support their learning and they will have several different opportunities throughout the two days to share their new knowledge.
Lesson Description for Day
In this first lesson, students will explore and learn about the four stages in the life cycle of a butterfly.
- Minnesota Academic Standards, Strand IV.B: (Diversity of Organisms) The student will recognize that plants and animals have life cycles. The student will describe life cycles of plants and animals.
- California Science, Standard 2.a, 2.b: (Life Sciences) Plants and animals have predictable life cycles. As a basis for understanding this concept: a. Students know that organisms reproduce offspring of their own kind and that the offspring resemble their parents and one another; b. Students know the sequential stages of life cycles are different for different animals, such as butterflies, frogs, and mice.
- Students will identify and describe the life cycle of a butterfly
- Students will demonstrate that the life cycle of the butterfly is different than other animals
- Students will demonstrate their understanding that at the beginning of an animal's life cycle, some young animals represent the adult while others do not.
- describe each stage in the life cycle of a butterfly
- identify the stages of the life cycle of the butterfly, using correct vocabulary
Share lesson goals and objectives with students: that they will learn about the life cycle of butterflies, the names of the stages, and what they look like. Ask them why they think it's important to learn about the life cycle of a butterfly, so they can understand and compare the life cycle of different living animals, how they are the same and how they are different.
Using KidspirationTM with projection, or using a chalk or white board, lead a class brainstorming session on the lesson's topic, ask students to tell you everything they know about the life cycle of butterflies. After a 5-6 minute brainstorming session, engage students in a class discussion to organize and categorize the different ideas raised by the students. Summarize the discussion and highlight the main categories and ideas that emerged during the brainstorming session. Ask students to return to their work areas and draw what they think the life cycle of a butterfly looks like.
When children return to the group circle, ask them to bring their life cycle butterfly pictures. Read Watch Me Grow, Butterfly by Lisa Magloff, to your class. As you read, ask your students questions about the book to keep them engage and focus on the critical features in the life cycle of the butterfly. As you and they discover a new stage, ask one of the children to write name of that stage on the board. As you continue to read, ask students to share what they are discovering about each stage such as egg, little, white, found on a leaf. After you finish reading the book, ask summarizing questions (e.g. What did you learn about butterflies? What part of the book did you like best?). Next, ask students to share their picture of the butterfly life cycle with a partner and discuss whether and how they would change the picture that they drew.
Present students with new information appropriate to the lesson, highlighting the various stages of the butterfly life cycle and the correct vocabulary including metamorphosis and the name of each stage (egg, caterpillar or larva, chrysalis or pupa, and adult butterfly).
- Use images to illustrate life cycle stages (see attached image for your use).
- Show the film Butterflies to your class.
Following the lesson's introduction, use a set of life cycle playing cards to reinforce new information. Tell students that each card represents one stage in the life of a butterfly, but the stages are not in order. Provide a think aloud to model the correct way to order the cards so students can accurately represent the life cycle of butterflies.
Give students a choice to work alone or with a partner in this activity. Ask each student or pair of students to choose a web site, a book, etc. (see list of materials for details), to find out more about the life cycle of butterflies. (Audio copies of books should be available in the listening center for students who require decoding support or who may have low vision. Or books should be scanned into the computer so these students can access the content using a screen reader. The content of web sites can also be accessed by using a screen reader). Give students time to browse their resources. Ask them to be prepared to share one new or interesting thing about the life cycle of a butterfly with the group. Students will have a choice of how to share their new knowledge. They can dictate what they have learned to the teacher or they can write or draw a picture of the information they want to share on a sticky. If students work with a partner, they only need one sticky between them. When students return to the large group, ask children to share what they have learned and write it on a large sheet of paper to post in the room.
Next, provide each student with their own set of four cards (in a plastic bag). Each card represents one stage in the life cycle of a butterfly. Ask students to correctly sequence their cards. Visit students and provide guidance as needed. (See the end of this lesson for materials and directions to make the cards). Students will keep these cards and they can take them home to share their new knowledge with family members.
Set up 4 learning centers in your classroom, to provide opportunities for students to describe each stage of the butterfly life cycle. Provide students choice to work alone or in pairs. Students will visit either Center 1 or Center 2 and they will visit Center 3 or Center 4. Each student will have a card with a corresponding picture/label for each center and they will check off the two centers they visit.
- Center 1: Make A Book Center: Provide materials (paper, markers, crayons, etc.) so students can author their own book about the life cycle of butterflies. Explain that the story can be either fiction or non-fiction. (many younger students will use inventive spelling and may need to have their text transcribed).
- Center 2: Writing Center: pencils, paper, word processor with text-to-speech. Students write about the life cycle of butterflies in a format comfortable for them (e.g. poetry, sentences, bulleted points, etc.)
- Center 3: Art Center: markers, crayons, pencils, paper, glue, and scissors, computer drawing program. Students create their own representation of the life cycle of butterflies. Provide a template (Center 3 Chart.doc) with four squares labeled Stages 1-4. For students who need scaffolding to complete this activity provide a picture and a printed vocabulary word for each stage. Students will need to match the correct word and picture to complete their life stage cards. In addition, they need to write or dictate a descriptive sentence about each cycle.
- Center 4: Graphic Organizer Center: Students complete one of the two attached life cycle maps (Center 4 Graphic Organizers.doc), on or off the computer. Students can use either words or pictures to complete their maps. The first template is empty; students are required to fill in all four stages. The Second template provides some pictures and words to support students . Once the template is completed, students need to write or dictate two descriptive words for each stage.
Students choose to share their new understandings about the stages of the life cycle of butterflies, with a partner and then they may volunteer to present their center project to the class. They are expected to use correct vocabulary, correctly sequence the stages, and use appropriate language that describes the butterfly in each of the stages.
When students are finished presenting ask the following questions:
How many stages are in the life cycle of a butterfly?
Can we name the stages?
What did you notice about each stage?
Provide ongoing assessment throughout the lesson.
- Observe and encourage student participation in class discussion, asking and answering questions, and volunteering comments and ideas.
- Visit students throughout the center activities and provide direction, correct any errors, and affirm successes.
- Did student's responses accurately answer the questions?
At the end of the lesson, collect the student center projects depicting and describing the correct sequence of the stages of metamorphosis and use the following questions to evaluate their work.
- Did students accurately sequence the four stages?
- Did use the correct vocabulary words?
- Were graphical representations accurate? If needed, students can use printed vocabulary words and images of the stages of development, rather than worrying about correct spelling and the accuracy of their drawings.
- Could students verbalize or draw a picture describing the changes at each stage?
This list of materials represents several different media including text, graphics, and video.Web Sites
- A Dance with the Butterflies
A wonderful site developed by Susan Silverman and Sarah McPherson, this site is another wonderful demonstration of how to embed Universal Design for Learning principals into the curriculum.
- Where do Butterflies Come From?
Use a toilet paper role and some crayons to simulate the transformation of a butterfly.
- Captain's European Butterfly Guide
Great pictures and a slide-show of the butterfly emerging for the chrysalis.
- Lepidoptera Gallery
Nice pictures of butterflies but not life cycle.
- Life Cycle of a Butterfly
The life cycle of a butterfly described at a grade 2 level in words, images, and sounds.
- Exploring Butterflies
A wealth of butterfly life cycle and other information, aimed at ages 5 and up.
- Life Cycle of a butterfly
Very nice web site for teachers.
- Butterfly Games, from Yukon Butterflies
Catch the butterfly, concentration, tic-tac-toe, and others.
- Grade 2 Student Models of Butterflies
- The Butterfly Web Site
Great resource for teachers.
- The Monarch Butterfly
For students. Younger students will benefit with teacher guidance.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle (Philomel, 1969)
- Crinkleroots Guide to Knowing Butterflies & Moths, Jim Arnosky (Simon & Schuster, 1996) Lots of text, but the pictures are great!
- Monarch Butterflies, Emilie U. Lepthien (Children's Press, 1989)
- The Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly, Julian May (Children's Press, 1973)
- From Caterpillar to Butterfly (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1) Deborah Heiligman, Bari Weissman [Illustrator] (Harper Trophy, 1996)
An excellent depiction of the life cycle of butterflies in words and illustrations. Told from a classroom perspective.
- Learning about Tropical Butterflies (Soft cover, 2004, Dover Publications, Ruth Soffer, ISBN: 048643706x)
An activity book for ages 4–8 that includes information about twelve different butterflies, such as their range, habitat, and distinguishing characteristics
- Where Butterflies Grow (Paperback, 1996, Puffin Books, Joanne Ryder, ISBN: 0140558586)
A book for ages 4–8 blending fiction and non-fiction about butterflies and 'butterfly gardening.'
- The Magic School Bus: Butterflies (DVD: 1999/2003; A Vision studios, ASIN: 1568328397)
- Graphic of the Life Cycle
- Flash cards of key vocabulary. These words can also be put on a classroom word wall.
- Create one set of life cycle cards for each student in your class.
- Photographs of butterflies
- Markers, crayons, pencils, paper, glue, scissors