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Life Cycle of the Butterfly

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Keywords: book making, life cycle, butterfly, pupa, larva, chrysalis, technology, camera, computer, slide show,
Subject(s): Technology, Life Science, Writing, Reading, Photography, English/Language Arts, Spelling, Grammar, Science
Grades 2 through 6
School: Academy At Robinson, Akron, OH
Planned By: Denise Viola
Original Author: Denise Viola, Akron
Objective: To show students how the life cycle of a butterfly goes through its different stages.
Procedures: This will be a student centered project.
1. Select 2 to 4 students who will be trained on the use of the digital camera
2. The students will be given an outline of procedures to follow while photographing the butterflies life cycle.
3. Each student in the class will have a caterpillar on their desk to observe (in a container). The students will watch for daily changes in the caterpillar’s size, any molting of skin, and caterpillar activity.
4. Selected students will photograph the caterpillar throughout its stages of life; larvae, pupa or chrysalis, and adult butterfly (the time, date and location should be noted). We will not be able to see the beginning stage- egg.
5. Students can report their finding to the class each day in their journals. The selected students should photograph the caterpillars every day and record the results.
6. The students should continue to photograph the emerging larva.
7. The students should continue to photograph the growth rate of the larva on a daily basis. With luck the students will be able to photograph the larva as it starts to form its chrysalis (pupa stage).
8. At this point, the pupa will be transferred into a butterfly cage.The students will continue to record information and photograph the pupa each day until the butterfly starts to emerge.
9. The students should continue to photograph the butterfly as it emerges and starts to dry out, then take some pictures of the butterfly as a flying adult (life cycle complete).
The students can, with teacher help, upload the photographs to a computer. Then students will organize the photographs together with captions to show the life cycle of a butterfly as a classroom book or even a slide show presentation. The digital camera allows you to show your photographs as a slide show on your computer and can be projected to a classroom screen. Students may culminate this activity with a “releasing of the butterflies” ceremony. The teacher will capture the excitement of the butterflies flying away, as well as the children waving good-bye, to be included as the last few pages of the book created with the digital camera.

Assessment: The students should be able to illustrate and label their own example of the life cycle of a butterfly.

Follow-up Lesson: Try photographing the life cycle of another insect/animal such as the mealworm or frog and compare life cycles.
I hope to receive a digital camera to use in my classroom for this type of lesson and many others. Children enjoy seeing themselves on sceen and in print. Using a digital camera authenticates the learning in the classroom.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This lesson contains standards from Science, Technology, and Language Arts.
Follow-up Lesson: Try photographing the life cycle of another insect/animal such as the mealworm or frog and compare life cycles.
Materials: Digital Cameras, Point and Shoot