Now we have moved on to the anatomy of butterflies and moths. We experimented with how butterflies eat, discovered what symmetry is, and made some butterfly snacks today. T loves when we make things with food, he is my big sweet eater!
Butterfly & Moth Anatomy
1. Discuss: Explain that butterflies and moths are both insects. The order that they belong to are called Lepidoptera. Like other insects, butterflies and moths have three major body sections, a head, a thorax, and an abdomen. Ask the children if they have those three body sections. Have the children put their hands on their heads. What do we have on our heads? Have the children point to their eyes, nose, ears, mouth, and hair. What do butterflies and moths have on their heads? eyes, antennae and proboscis
Butterflies and moths have two eyes. People have two eyes too but each of our eyes only has one lens. This means we only see one picture. Butterflies and moths have hundreds of lenses on each eye. This means that they see lots of little pictures. This kind of eye is called a compound eye. The children can look through kaleidoscopes to see what it looks like to have a compound eye. This is how a butterfly sees the world.
Butterflies and moths have two antennae between their eyes. They use their antennae to feel and smell. What do we use to feel and smell? hands and nose Insects do not have hands (to touch) and noses(to smell) like we do, so they use their antennae.
Butterflies and moths have a different kind of mouth. Their mouth is called a proboscis. The proboscis is a long straw-like tube that unrolls from the head when the butterfly needs to take either food or water.
Where do you think our thorax is? Have the children put their hands on their chest. This is our thorax. What is attached to a butterfly’s or a moth’s thorax? legs Butterflies and moths have six legs we have 2 legs.
Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) have four wings. The top two are called the fore wings and the bottom two are called the hind wings. Each wing is covered in thousands of colorful scales. The colors and patterns on their wings are always symmetrical. This means that each wing is a mirror image of the other. Hold out your hands with your palms up. Now look at your hands side by side. Your hands are symmetrical. Place the palms of your hands together. See how your fingers line up perfectly together. This is how butterfly wings line up when they come together.
Where do you think your abdomen is? Have the children hold their stomach below their belly button. This is your abdomen. An insect’s abdomen is usually long. Just like our abdomen, a butterfly’s abdomen contains the stomach, helps produce baby butterflies, and gets rid of waste.
2. Read: Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
What are the 3 body parts of a butterfly (and all insects)? Head, Thorax, Abdomen
What are the butterflies eyes called that are made up of many hexagonal lenses so that they see lots of little images? Compound eye
What do butterflies use to see and smell? Antennae
What is a butterflies mouth called? Proboscis
How many legs do butterflies have (and all insects)? Six
What are the two wings on the top called? Forewings
What are the two bottom wings called? Hindwings
Eating Like a Butterfly
Butterflies and moths drink their liquid food through a proboscis. The proboscis is a long straw-like tube that unrolls from the head when the butterfly needs to take either food or water for its liquid diet.
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup cranberry juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
Orange Slice Butterflies
- Orange slice cut into fourths
- Chocolate Sprinkles
Butterfly Word Search
I found a fun Butterfly Word Search for J to do. It was a bit difficult for him to do alone, so I helped him a bit.
Read: What is Symmetry in Nature? by Bobbie Kalman
- old newspapers
- round coffee filters
- food coloring
- plastic cup
- pipe cleaner
1. First cover work surfaces with newspapers.
2. Fold the coffee filter in half and then in half again so it is folded into fourths.
3. Using a Q-tip, demonstrate how to dip the Q-tip on the end of the food coloring bottle and squeeze it into the cotton part. Then dab designs on the folded filter, using different colors and shapes (such as rings, dots, or lines). Then let students get started on their own designs, replicating patterns from a real butterfly or making their own.
4. After the designs are finished, set the folded tip of the filter into a clear cup of water. Have the students observe what happens. Capillary action is occurring, the filter is soaking up water from the cup; as water reaches the colors, they begin to bleed into one another.
6. Ask the students to describe how the colors changed. What do they notice about where the patterns appear? The colors soaked through the folds of the filter, creating mirror-image, repeating patterns all around the circle.
7. When the filters are dry, pinch the filters together in the middle, then slide it into the clothespin and spread out the wings.
- 1 paper plate
- 3 Tbs. vanilla frosting
- 4 toothpicks
- 1 candy fruit slices
- 2 unbroken pretzels
- 1 gumdrop
- 2 mini M&Ms
- 1 large marshmallow
- 1 two-inch piece red shoelace licorice
- paper towels
- 6 half inch pieces black shoelace licorice
Label a Butterfly