Butterfly Life Cycle Exploration

Students build knowledge about the butterfly life cycle by observing chrysalises and butterflies in Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden. Students use informational text and science talk (a discussion protocol designed to get students speaking scientifically) and work in small groups to demonstrate what they’ve learned by acting out the stages of the butterfly life cycle.

Lesson Extensions for Before or After Your Visit

The Butterfly Life Cycle Exploration lesson takes place in the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden and Butterfly Learning Lab. The following activities are designed for your class to enjoy before or after your museum visit. Familiarizing students with the lesson concepts can enrich your museum experience.

Discovery Table

Encourage students to bring in an object from nature that interests them. Display the objects on a table or shelf. Add plants and/or class pets to the display. Provide magnifying glasses and clipboards with paper and pencils for exploration and drawing.

Wonder Center

Establish an area in the classroom where students can post their questions. Provide sticky notes, pencils, and chart paper for recording.

Science Talks

Choose questions from the Wonder Center to discuss as a class. Include students in establishing norms for the discussions. Some may be, “We will raise our hands when we want a turn,” “We will agree or disagree in a friendly way,” and "We will roll the ball to someone with a hand up for a turn." The goal is to give students a forum in which they can voice their theories rather than to arrive at correct answers. Let the students guide the discussion. Document the conversations by transcribing or tape recording. The documentation can be used to plan future experiences, remind students of what they said, or to share students' thinking with parents.


Talking Their Way Into Science: Hearing Children’s Questions and Theories, Responding with Curricula by Karen Gallas
Are You a Butterfly? by Judy Allen
From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman