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BUGS unit!

Lindsey B

New Member
I am doing a bugs unit for the end of March with my first grade. I am including insects and butterflies. We're taking a field trip to a nearby Butterfly Farm. I also ordered the butterfly kit so the class can watch the catepillars grow. I am considering focusing the unit around The Very Hungry Catepillar and the rest of Eric Carle's books with the same insect theme. Perhaps doing an author's study?

I was just wondering if there were any other suggestions concerning bugs, insects, and butterflies that were effective with the 1st graders! Any help would be great!!


Senior Member
ending report

We do an insect / butterfly unit as well. We do a lot of things, but the one they love is the insect report at the end of the unit. We have them catch an insect (good thing is spiders are not ) and draw it on a paper and have them write a 5 sentence report on how they caught it, where they found it, and two interesting facts about their insect. The cool part is they bring in the insect in a SEALED container. (it is ok if it dies) and we release them in our gardens out side our classroom. Yes it may be gross to you, but it is the best day for the kids. They just love bringing in and sharing what they found and presenting their report to the class. I have half do it on one day and then we release and then the other half the next. We have had no problems (stings, escapes, or lost insects) in the 5 years I have been doing this project. I take a picture of each of them to send home with the report after I have graded it. .
Have a great time, if you need anything else let me know



We do a bug unit that is about 2 weeks long. We raise the butterflies, incorporate songs, poems, storybooks, and videos. We include some centres during that week that you might enjoy trying. One that I like has the kids go on Kid Pix and design the head, thorax and abdomen using the oval tools, and pour in some wonderful paint effects. We print it off and they cut the 3 body parts out and put the bug together. We have tracers for wings (waxed paper or laminating film work great) and they can add different kinds of legs, antennae, and eye stickers. Then they write a free verse poem describing their bug, and name it.

In small groups they go to the library where the group is helped by the librarian to research info about one assigned bug. They write their reports a bug shape I got from a Mailbox magazine, then come back and share what they've learned with the rest of the class. Over 5 days everyone gets a chance to do this with a different bug, so they can experience investigation and reports.

Another group is a listening activity, as we have a tape with stories and songs about bug colors and camoflauge. Then they color different bugs on an activity sheet that goes with the tape. A math activity we've adapted includes ladybugs of different colors (lady bugs come in red, yellow and orange), They graph how many of each color were in their container, and then make a pattern with their ladybugs.

In art we make dragonfly wings on coffee filter paper (with washable markers and water...you know) and of course use butterfly wings to teach symmetry. We create a ladybug out of construction paper, including the underwings out of waxed paper hidden under the wing cases. We glue that ladybug on a big green leaf and add a poem we learned about ladybugs.

Of course we study metamorphisis (complete and partial). We make models of that process using pasta shapes on green leaves. And we learn about the different mouth parts using a sponge, medicine dropper, straw and pliars as models. I guess you can tell I enjoy this unit.


Senior Member
butterfly life cycle poster

We teach about the life cycle of the monarch in September. My kids make a poster about the life cycle and it always gets many compliments.

Divide a large sheet of construction paper into 4ths.

Stage 1: egg
Kids trace a green leaf and cut it out. Then they glue a yellow pom pom on the leaf.

Stage 2: caterpillar
Kids trace a green leaf and cut it out. They then cut little bite marks in the edge of the leaf. We make caterpillars using white, yellow, and black fuzzy chenille stems by twisting the 3 together. Hot glue the caterpillar onto the leaf.

Stage 3: chrysalis
Kids make a branch using brown paper. I show them how. You can make a tracer for them if needed. Then dye large shell macaroni green (I do it the day before). The kids decorate the top of the "chrysalis" with gold dots using a metallic gold marker. You will need to hot glue the chrysalis to the paper.

Stage 4: butterfly
To teach symmetry: make a tracer of half a butterfly. Give the kids a folded piece of orange paper. Put an x on the side of the tracer where the tracer is supposed to go. You must be very clear when giving these directions and you'll probably want to demonstrate. Kids will trace the butterfly and cut it out. Next step is to paint one side of the fold with white and black paint quickly. Tell them to make dots. Then quickly press the other side into the paint. Open up the butterfly and you have symmetry.

I do have the kids write the name of each stage on strips of lined paper. Then they have to glue each stage in the correct order. We draw arrows to show the life cycle.

This is a great assessment to see if they understand life cycle.


I like these

There are many lessons to choose from here:



New Member
You can also go to www.insectlore.com and they have all types of insects that you can watch grow in your classroom. I did the monarch butterflies and my kids loved watching them in their different stages. You can also check out www.enchantedlearning.com they have some really neat printouts and to me it's worth $20.00 for the year. Good luck.


1st grade teacher

We start off the year with bugs and complete a whole quarter unit on them. This is based on the FOSS science unit that teaches insect life cycles. Students do a lot of observation (and journaling) along with hands-on opportunites to see many different life cycles in action. FOSS is a wonderful way to teach insects with the lessons all mapped out and materials in one place.