Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Butterfly Bonanza

Becky Peltonen
Bay District Schools


How do butterflies change and grow over time? After looking at butterflies, reading about butterflies and singing about butterflies, students will be able to describe the life cycle of the butterfly.


The student knows ways living things change and grow over time (for example, seed to flowering plant, tadpole to frog).


-Live butterfly, life-like butterfly from craft store or photograph of butterfly
-[The Very Hungry Caterpillar]. Eric Carle. Scholastic Paperbacks; ISBN: 0590733257; Reissue edition (June 1989)
-[From Caterpillar to Butterfly]. Deborah Heiligman. HarperTrophy; ISBN: 0064451291; (May 1996)
-[The Caterpillar and the Polliwog]. Jack Kent. Aladdin Paperbacks; ISBN: 0671662813; Reprint edition (March 1985)
-Butterfly lifecycle cards (from teacher supply store or teacher-made from magazine pictures)
-Large teacher chart with song printed on it (teacher-made from song in associated file)
-Individual song sheets including song (associated file)


1. Acquire butterfly (real, model or photograph).
2. Purchase butterfly life cycle cards from teacher supply store, borrow butterfly life cycle cards from peer teacher or make butterfly life cycle cards from magazine pictures.
2. Make large song chart with "Metamorphosis Song" written in large print. The song is available from the attached files.
3. Gather suggested book to be read.
4. Make copies of the song sheets for each student. (See associated file)
5. Have crayons readily available.
6. Make one class copy of the teacher assessment sheet for documenting mastery of skill. (See associated file.)


Note: This lesson instructs and assesses the lifecycle of a butterfly only as an example of an organism that changes over time.

1. Show students a live butterfly, life-like butterfly from craft store, or photograph of butterfly. Ask students, How did this butterfly grow? Allow for discussion.

2. Read a literature book (such as [The Very Hungry Caterpillar] by Eric Carle, [From Caterpillar to Butterfly] by Deborah Heiligman or [The Caterpillar and the Polliwog] by Jack Kent) that illustrates and explains the lifecycle of a butterfly.

3. Show lifecycle card of the butterfly egg to the students and say, First, a butterfly lays an egg. Show the butterfly larvae card and say, Next, a caterpillar hatches from the egg. Another name for caterpillar is larvae. Show the butterfly pupa stage and say, Then, the larvae sheds its skins and forms a chrysalis, which is during the pupa stage. Show the butterfly adult card and say, Last, a butterfly hatches from the chrysalis and we call this the adult stage. Display cards for children to use as reference during rereading of story.

4. Reread previous story and say to the students, Stop me when you see these changes taking place during the story. As you reread, allow for feedback and discussion during sequencing of butterfly life cycle.

5. Show children large song chart and tell them that they are going to learn a song that will help them remember the stages of a butterfly. Point to each word as you sing.
("Metamorphosis Song" to the tune of "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt")
Egg, larvae, pupa, adult
That is metamorphosis.
When the insect comes out
You can hear him shout,
Egg, larvae, pupa, adult!
La, la, la, la, la, la, la (repeat verse)

6. Pass out individual song sheets with song printed for children to read. Sing song again and have children point to words on song sheets as they sing along.

7. Pass out crayons and instruct children to illustrate song sheets with life cycle of butterfly.

8. As children draw, call students one at a time and have him/her sequence life cycle cards in correct order while verbally identifying each stage. Give individual students both corrective and affirmative feedback.


1. On their song sheets, the students draw the life cycle of a butterfly by including the egg, larvae, pupa and adult stages in order. Provide corrective and affirmative feedback after viewing pictures.
2. Through teacher observation and scoring (+, -) on the metamorphosis assessment sheet during one-on-one conferencing, students verbally identify and physically sequence butterfly lifecycle cards in the order of egg, larvae, pupa and adult with 100% accuracy. Students must use the correct terms as they point to the sequenced cards.


The song and assessment sheet can be used when teaching the life cycle of other insects (for example ladybugs, antlions, etc.)

Attached Files

The "Metamorphosis Song" and the Metamorphosis Assessment sheet.     File Extension: pdf

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