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Lesson Plan #: AELP-ENT0201
Submitted by: Jennifer Hock
Email: jhock@perris.k12.ca.us
School/University/Affiliation: Perris Elementary, Perris, CA

July 9, 2002

Grade Level: Preschool Education, Kindergarten, 1


  • Science/Entomology
  • Language Arts
  • Arts

Description: This activity can be used as part of a butterfly unit. Students make colorful butterfly models which display the stages in a butterfly’s life.

Goals: California State Standards :

  • Life Sciences Standard (Kindergarten) 2c: Students know how to identify major structures of common plants and animals (e.g., stems, leaves, roots, arms, wings, legs).
  • Reading Standard (Kindergarten) 1.18: Students will be able to describe common objects and events in both general and specific language.


  • Students will be able to identify the stages in a butterfly’s life cycle.
  • Students will be able to create a butterfly model, arranging the stages of a butterfly’s life cycle in the correct order.
  • Materials: (for each student)

    • 12 x 18 sheet of white construction paper
    • tempera paints
    • scissors
    • pipe cleaner (for antennae and caterpillar)
    • glue
    • 3 x 3′ strip of brown butcher paper- rounded at the ends (students may do or the teacher)
    • pencil
    • four 3 x 8 1/2 sheets of white paper with writing lines
    • 8 piece of masking tape (to roll into a chrysalis)
    • popcorn kernel (to represent an egg)
    • marker
    • Butterfly Diagram
    • Butterfly Diagram in .pdf format; requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

      Click the icon to obtain the free Reader.

    (See Materials for a sample sketch of the butterfly.)

    First students will make the butterfly. Fold the piece of white construction paper in half. Open it back up and on half of the paper have a student drip different colors of tempera paint — starting by the fold. After colors have been dripped, fold the paper back together and starting at the center of the fold, smooth the paper towards the two outer corners. Open the paper to see the butterfly design. Let the paint dry. Once the paint is dry the butterfly needs to be cut out. If the shape looks like a butterfly, you can have students cut around the paint to make the butterfly. If the shape doesn’t, then you may make a stencil for students to trace around on the folded sheet so the butterfly is symmetrical.

    After the butterfly has been cut out, the student will glue the strip of brown butcher paper to the front of the butterfly in the center to make the butterfly body. (The bottom part of the strip is where they will put the other stages of the life cycle.) Have the students use the marker to draw a face on their butterfly. While that dries, have students write the different stages of the butterfly’s life cycle on the pieces of paper with writing lines. (Egg, Caterpillar, Chrysalis, Butterfly) These will need to be written on the board or a place where students may copy them down. If students aren’t writing on their own yet, write the words with dotted letters for the students to trace. Next, students will glue the stage words on the strip of brown butcher paper, starting at the bottom with the egg and working their way up until they label the butterfly at the top. Have them add the popcorn on the egg strip, a bent pipe cleaner on the caterpillar strip, and the rolled up masking tape on the chrysalis strip, to show examples of each stage. If you want you may add pipe cleaner antennae to the butterfly to finish it off. Assessment: Check to see that each student has placed the names of the stages in the correct order on their butterfly models.

    Useful Internet Resources:
    * The Butterfly Life Cycle
    by Jackie Myers

    * Monarch Watch – Vocabulary List

    * Content Standards for California Public Schools

    Special Comments: The students enjoyed making the butterflies. They are colorful decorations for the classroom or home!