Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Ready, Set, Grow

Michele Ludick
Colleges and Universities - Florida


Students construct a class butterfly garden. Students create a journal entry with an illustration of their class butterfly garden.


The student generates ideas before writing on self-selected topics and assigned tasks (for example, brainstorming, observing surroundings, reading texts, discussion with peer).

The student extends and refines knowledge that the surface of the Earth is composed of different types of solid materials.

The student uses simple graphs, pictures, written statements, and numbers to observe, describe, record, and compare data.


-Space on campus (close to classroom if possible) for planting of plants
-Selection of listed plants (See Preparations and Associated File)
-Basic garden tools (shovels, rakes, spades, etc.)
-Crayons, colored pencils, pencils, pens
-Water hose or buckets to carry the water to the garden
-Books on butterflies and plants
-Plastic butter dishes (disposable ones from the grocery store)
-Dark, flat stones
-Access to Website (See Weblinks)


1. Select plants for the butterfly garden. (A list of nectar sources for adult butterflies, and butterfly and larva host plants is included in the associated file.) Choose plants from each category if possible. If this is not possible, then use what is available in your area.
2. Locate an area to be used. If an outside area cannot be located, the butterfly garden can be created in planters located outside the classroom, near the playground or any other outside area of the school.
3. Depending on your time frame, prepare the designated area. If the location is too sandy, add several bags of a planting material. This can come from your local WalMart or KMart store or a local garden center. Many places will donate if you tell them what you are doing. Students generally enjoy this part as they love to get dirty and make messes, however your schedule may not allow for the preparation time as well as the planting.
4. Group plants together according to what they need, i.e., sunlight, water, special soil (although any soil is generally fine).
5. Locate a water source. This may be done with a hose or water buckets if no hose is available. Have buckets filled and located near the garden for students.
6. Plant plants in holes dug by the students. Be sure the plants are secure in the holes by packing the earth down around them, but not too tightly.
7. Remember to create a water source for the butterflies (sink one or two butter dishes into holes) and include some dark, flat stones in the garden. Butterflies are attracted to both.


1. Ask the students why they think it is important to provide spaces for butterflies and other animals.

2. Tell students that they will be constructing a butterfly garden outside.

3. Review the plants to be used and show the students the items to be placed in the garden.

4. Review with students the tools they will be using in the garden for turning the soil and planting the plants. Explain about their correct use and how to be safe while using them.

5. If the garden is large enough, group the students and assign them a section to plant. When this is not feasible, assign each student a task to perform in preparing the garden. Allow each student an opportunity to turn the soil and plant a plant. If time is a factor, prepare the garden area prior to class time. Leave a small section so that students can see what it looked like before and have a chance to turn a shovel of soil themselves. (See Preparations)

6. Have students turn up the earth to prepare for the planting of the chosen plants. Explain to students as they work why they must remove weeds, grass and other items that are in the area so the new plants will grow. If the area is already prepared, explain to students by comparing an area that is not prepared and the garden space to be planted.

7. Allow students to dig holes and plant the plants.

8. Allow students to place the rocks and other garden items you may have in the garden.

9. Dig holes and place butter dishes (the disposable kind from the grocery store) in the holes then fill them with water for the butterflies. One or two should be sufficient.

10. Have students look at their garden and make a mental picture of the plants and their placement.

11. Return to the classroom or remain in the garden for students to create their journal entry and illustration about their garden experience. The journal entry should contain a main idea and a supporting detail. (See Rubric in Associated File)

12. Follow up with job assignments for maintaining the garden, such as water person, weeder, plant inspector.


Use the rubric in the associated file for the journal entry to assess knowledge and/or mastery of the standards addressed in this lesson.


1. Plan a trip to Butterfly World (Coconut Creek, FL).
2. Check with the local university science department for butterfly samples.
3. Locate a local museum that has a butterfly display.
4. Track Monarch butterfly migration via the Internet.

Web Links

Web supplement for Ready, Set, Grow
Ready, Set, Grow

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