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Caterpillar/Butterfly Unit

Compiled By: luv2teach77

A collection of ideas/activities for a caterpillar/butterfly unit. This is a great unit to do in the spring or towards the end of the school year!

Posted by: Sarah S.

We made some crafts with coffee filters... The kids colored them with markers, then sprayed them with water bottles and let the colors run together. When they were dry, which we helped along by patting them with paper towels, we bunched them up in the middle and slid them into the space of an old style clothes pin. Then we attatched so pipe cleaners for antenna. Also, I have a pattern with 3 butterflies of different sizes, they colored and we decorated paper plates, cut them in a spiral and attatched the butterflies in graduated order. These were very decorative. We made life cycle charts using rice (for an egg), spiral pasta (for caterpillar), shell pasta (for cocoon), and bowtie pasta (for butterfly) I had some patters of leaves and showed them how to make paper look like grass. These came out really neat. One craft that sticks in my mind, we used TP tube and painted them green to make a cocoon, and a butterfly from our handprints on a craft stick, you roll the butterfly inside the TP tube and when you pull it out..duh...the butterfly comes out of the cocoon. I saw the cutest bulletin board where, the teacher gave every child an oval shape to paint with green, yellow, orange, red..and then she staples them overlapping on the board to make the "Very Hungry Caterpillar" It's very eye catching!! Everything on it is painted with these colors, the eyes are cut outs, mouth too, and feet I's cute! I hope that helped a little...I also put the shell pasta in my sensory table for them to play could put a different element from the life cycle chart in there each day. Good luck and have fun!!

Life cycle
Posted by: Jackie

I taught a small unit on butterflies to my first graders and they loved it. Mainly we discussed the life cycle of the butterfly. I made a poster board to illustrate each of the four stages egg, caterpillar, chryslais, butterfly. I taught a seperate lesson for each of the stages. First we talked about eggs, and what type of animals hatch from eggs. Then I ordered some caterpillars from the Carolina company ( or 800-334-5551). I ordered a "Raise-A-Butterfly Kit" #GW-14-4010 which was $22.95. The caterpillars came in a small plastic cup and I allowed the students to pass the cup around and look at them. Over time they formed a chrysalis at the top of the cup. You then transfer the top of the cup to a larger plastic container, which they give you. Then you just wait for the little beauties to come out. The kit gives detailed instructions and is very informative. The students loved to watch them. We also kept track of the life cycle by counting the number of days they spent in each stage. The kit would be wonderful to place in a center.
As far as a play goes you could have a few students be the butterfly and display it's life cycle. They would start out as eggs on a leaf, and all the other students could be animals that pass by them and wonder about them. One wise animal, maybe an owl, could tell what the eggs are. Then they would turn into caterpillars, and the animals would look at them and notice them as a part of the garden/forest. You could continue through the other life stages, and have the other animals react in different ways to their changes.I hope this helps. Good luck.

Life cycle of a butterfly
Posted by: Carol

We usually use different shaped macaroni to make a chart to illustrate the life cycle of a butterfly. First we read the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (eventhough it is a picture book it has a lot of basics that are useful for the students). Then we make a chart by dividing a paper plate into fourths and labeling each with a stage in the life cycle of the butterfly. We then glue different types of macaroni to the plate... an elbow for the egg,a fussilli(spiral shape) for the caterpillar, a shell for the chryssalis, and a bowtie for the butterfly. We then decorate the background and write some facts in each section. This is a simple activity but the children really do learn the facts about the life cycle. Sorry about the spelling errors!!

butterfly lifecycle
Posted by: luv2teachinoz

Attached is the lifecycle of a butterfly. Not sure where I found this...

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Butterfly projects
Posted by: Sarah S.

I just finished my unit on butterflies and caterpillars. I used this project as a hands on way to get the idea across...

I put out rice, shell, spiral, and bowtie noodles. I instruct the kids to create a picture for me that shows how the butterfly comes to be a butterfly, they use the rice to make an egg on a leaf (I put out green and brown paper). Then they put the spiral in some green paper cut to look like grass, then the shell on a tree limb for the cocoon, and last a bowtie for the butterfly. These came out very cute.
We also made little books about the life cycle of a butterfly, they dictated what they wanted each page to say and I wrote it on each page.
There are printables on various websites although I cannot recall the particular one I used, if you "keyword" butterflies, you should find what you're looking for! Good luck!!

Posted by: Sarah

I read Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", we make squish painted butterflies where you drop paint on the paper and let them fold it in half and squish it together. We make butterflies from our hand prints and attatch them to a craft stick, then paint a toilet paper tube brown and fold the butterflies wings around to it fits in the tube, (it looks like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. I also did the life cycle of a butter fly using rice for the larva, twisty pasta for the caterpillar, shell pasta for the crysalis, and bowtie pasta for the butterfly. I let them color on coffee filters with markers and them spray them down with water so the colors run together. When they dry we pinch them up in the middle and attatch them to a clothes pin, wrap a pipe cleaner to then end for antennea!
Have fun, good luck...hope that helped get the ball rolling!

Insect and Bugs
Posted by: Darci

I teach first grade and we are not only wrapping up the end of the school year, but the end of our caterpillar / insect unit.

We order caterpillars and raise them to the butterfly stage and then have a huge Butterfly Release Day complete with songs, poems and fingerplays. We make a Caterpillar Data book in which we put dittos, information, and drawings in (a folder) so that the students have something to take home that is full of actual information.

Our caterpillar habitats are 2-liter Pepsi (or any clear bottle)....we place a paper towel in the bottom, a stick, a straw with a small plastic ketchup cup (from a fast food restaurant) with a sponge in it......we mix sugar and water in a bottle and feed the butterflies by squirting the liquid through the straw into the cup on the sponge. There is netting over the top held in place with a rubber band. (You would have to choose your insects carefully, but these make great (and inexpensive) habitats that the children can easily see into!)

We read Eric Carle's The Hungry Caterpillar. Then we colored a large caterpillar (for them to retell the story with). We cut them out and I attached a baggy to the back of their caterpillar. They colored the food that the caterpillar in the story had eaten (along with a small butterfly) and as I read the story, they placed the pieces in their caterpillar's stomach (the baggy). They loved it and it was an easy puppet!

My puppet for this story is a green sock with eyes hot glued to the toe. I cut out and laminated the food that the caterpillar ate through and had a hole cut in the middle of each large enough for my hand to go through. As I told the story this year, I had a child place the sock on his hand. As I read, I placed the food on his hand and onto his arm so that it looked like the caterpillar had eaten it. At the end, I had a butterfly large enough to cover the food and the green sock was then the butterfly's head.

This week we did a fun craft to go along with Eric Carle's book, The Grouchy Ladybug. (For each child), I took two black plated and turned them wrong-side out (the body). I stapled them together on two sides only (opposite of each other). I then one red plate and cut it in half (wings). The students cut out black dots and glued them on the wings (semetrically). When they were done, I took a SMALL paperpunch and punched through the top black plate (at an open end) and through both red wings....connected them with a brass fastener and then once out the socks (this time white with eyes on the toe). The students put the sock on, then placed their arm through the black plates......and they had a ladybug puppet.

We also made ladybug headbands by drawing a circle on a piece of paper and then showing them step-by-step how to draw and color a simple ladybug. We stapled them onto a strip of paper that went around their head......and also paperpunched two holes at the top of the ladybug and ran a piece of pipe cleaner through both so that they became the antenna!

Posted by: JMR

I have ordered caterpillars from several times. You can download copies of their teacher manual right off the internet. It costs about $9.95 per cup which usually comes with about 5 or 6 caterpillars. I have never had a problem with any of them dying. I don't order the butterfly house. You can't see the butterflies very well. I had a fantastic assistant a couple of years ago who made me a butterfly house. She took two large wooden hoops (I think they were about 12 inches in diameter -at Wal-Mart in craft section) and cut out cardboard box circles to fit snug inside the inner hoops. Next she covered each side with contact paper. Then she took some tulle and hot glued it around the side of the inside hoop overlapping the tulle about 8 inches so you can slide your hand in and out to change the sugar water. I think the tulle comes in 60 inch bolts. So your house would be about 60 inches long from top to bottom. Then you glue the other hoop at the other end wrapping the tulle around the edges just like the first one. So you have this hanging net-like house. Then you just snap the outer hoop back on each end. I taped a paperclip to the top and the fed a string through it and hung it from the ceiling. I know the directions sound kind of confusing so I can send you a picture of it through email if you like. It is a great house and all the kids can see it really well.
Good Luck!