Butterflies Day 3: Butterfly Anatomy

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

3. Comprehension questions:
  • 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

Discuss:

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.

Materials:

  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Straw
  • Orange Juice
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Honey
Directions:
  1. Draw a flower on the piece of paper.
  2. Color and cut it out.Butterfly Unit (52)
  3. Poke a straw through the center of your flower.Butterfly Unit (37)
Recipe for Nectar:

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Mix the juices together, and taste first for sweetness before adding honey. Stir the honey until dissolved. Butterfly Unit (50)

Drink some nectar through the straw. Now you are eating like a butterfly!Butterfly Unit (49) Butterfly Unit (48)

Orange Slice Butterflies

Materials:

  • Orange slice cut into fourths
  • Grapes
  • Chocolate Sprinkles
  • Toothpicks
Directions:
  1. Put an orange fourth on a toothpick then a grape then another orange fourth.
  2. Put a grape on another toothpick and then slide it through the grape from the previous toothpick and then add on more grape.
  3. Use a chocolate sprinkle for each antenna.Butterfly Unit (57)

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.

Butterfly Symmetry

Read:  What is Symmetry in Nature? by Bobbie Kalman

Discuss:

Look closely at a butterfly’s wings and you’ll see that each is made up of thousands of overlapping scales; it’s an example of symmetry in nature.  A line of symmetry divides a shape into two identical parts.  In some cases, as with a butterfly, you’ll find one line of symmetry.  In other cases, there is more than one ; like with eight sections of an orange.  Look at butterfly pictures to study the patterns on their wings.  Discuss how the patterns are useful to butterflies (camouflage, alert predators that the butterfly is poison, attract a mate).  Ask students to describe characteristics many butterflies have in common (bright colors, distinctive markings and patterns, wings are the mirror image of each other).
 
Materials:
  • old newspapers
  • round coffee filters
  • food coloring
  • plastic cup
  • water
  • clothespin
  • pipe cleaner
  • glue
  • Q-tips

Directions:

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.Butterfly Unit (47) Butterfly Unit (44)

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.Butterfly Unit (43)

5. After a few minutes, when the filter is completely soaked, remove the filters from the water and open them up.  Set them on the newspaper to dry.Butterfly Unit (39)

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.Butterfly Unit (36)

7. When the filters are dry, pinch the filters together in the middle, then slide it into the clothespin and spread out the wings.

8. Put a small pieces of pipe cleaner into the front of the clothespin for antennae.Butterfly Unit (33)

Candy Butterflies

Materials:
  • 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
Discuss:
1. Start by showing the children the picture of a butterfly.
2. Review the three main body sections (head, thorax, and abdomen) and their components.
3. Tell the children that everyone is going to build their own butterfly out of candy but they have to make sure not to eat the pieces until everyone is finished.
 
Directions:
1. Put the head (gumdrop) on the end of one of the tooth picks.
2. Slide the thorax (large marshmallow) on the tooth pick just below the head.
3. Slide the abdomen (candy fruit slice) behind the thorax.
4. Attach the two wings (pretzels) by pushing the bottom of the pretzel into the topsides of the thorax (large marshmallow).
5. Attach the legs (black shoelace licorice) by pushing them into the bottom sides of the thorax.
6. Insert two antennae (toothpicks) close together into the very top of the head.
7. Take the proboscis (red shoelace licorice) and coil it.
8. Stick the end of the proboscis into the bottom front of the head.
9. Dip the eyes (mini M&Ms) in the frosting and attach them to the head right beside the antennae.Butterfly Unit (32)

Label a Butterfly

We used the Label a Butterfly page for review.  I used page 12 of the Butterflies Anatomy page to help with us with the review.

Butterfly Unit Study

Day 1: Butterfly Life Cycle

Day 2: Caterpillar Anatomy

Day 3: Butterfly Anatomy

Day 4: Butterfly vs. Moth