Butterfly Unit Study

In this unit study we learned about the life cycle of butterflies and moths, the anatomy of butterflies and moths, and the differences between butterflies and moths.  We also grew a butterfly and record our observations.  This unit study has 4 days worth of lessons, and it takes 3 to 4 weeks to grow the butterfly.  I did this unit study with my 1st grader and I recommend it for Kindergarten to 3rd grade.IMG_0172

Butterfly Unit Study

Day 1: Butterfly Life Cycle

Day 2: Caterpillar Anatomy

Day 3: Butterfly Anatomy

Day 4: Butterfly vs. Moth

Butterfly Book List

Books can be read by the child or by the parent to the child, depending on the child’s reading level. I don’t think that a child is ever too old to be read to.

Books I used in the lessons

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert

Creep, Crawly Caterpillars by Margery Facklam

Caterpillar to Butterfly by Camilla de la Bedoyere

What’s the Difference Between a Butterfly and a Moth? by Robin Koontz

What is Symmetry in Nature? by Bobbie Kalman

Other age appropriate books

Butterfly Storyby Anca HaritonButterfly House by Eve Bunting

The Lamb and the Butterfly illustrated by Eric Carle

Painted Lady Butterflies by Martha E. H. Rustad

The Magic School Bus the Butterfly and the Bog Beast by Nancy E. Krulik and Thompson Brothers

Can You Tell a Butterfly from a Moth by Buffy SilvermanButterfly Unit (25)

Butterfly Video List

Wild Kratts Episode 109 Voyage of the Butterflier XT

National Geographic Butterflies

Butterfly Life Cycle

The Magic School Bus Season 2 Episode 5 – Butterfly and the Bog Beast

Live Butterfly Garden
We got a Butterfly Garden from www.insectlore.com.  When we got the kit we sent for the caterpillars.  They came in about a week.Butterfly Unit (95)There were 4 tiny caterpillars in a container with food and air holes in it.  We did not have to open the container at all.Butterfly Unit (93)

J recorded his observations of the caterpillars in a home made butterfly journal.  He wrote an update every other day or so; he also drew a picture for each journal entry.Butterfly Unit (79)

On day 10 two of the caterpillars hung from the top of the container in a “J” form. Butterfly Unit (30)

By day 12 all four of them were hanging form the top in their chrysalis’.  And on day 14 we opened he container and gently moved the piece of paper under the lid that they were hanging from.  I pinned it onto the mesh sides of the butterfly house.IMG_0043

 Finally on day 20 one emerged from the chrysalis. Then a few days later we set them free outside.IMG_0173 IMG_0160

Catch Your Own Caterpillars
We also caught our own caterpillars and put them in our butterfly house to see what would happen. Butterfly Unit (92) Butterfly Unit (35) Butterfly Unit (34)

We caught 3 that looked the same and had formed cocoons by the next morning.  We also caught 2 other types of caterpillars that we had to feed leaves for a week.  Since they were in the grass when we found them we took a few leaves from the different trees in our yard to see which type they would eat.  Then we added new leaves from that tree every day.Butterfly Unit (61)

The moths came out of the cocoons about 18 days after they made them.   IMG_0266

The Butterfly House 
We also took a trip to the St. Louis Butterfly House.   They had tons of beautiful butterflies and flowers.Butterfly Unit (17) Butterfly Unit (16)

 The boys really enjoyed seeing all the different types of butterflies.Butterfly Unit (18) Butterfly Unit (12)

They also had a chrysalis viewing area.  We saw one butterfly hanging on his empty chrysalis pumping his wings.Butterfly Unit (6)

There was a 15 minute video to watch about the life of a butterfly and a world map outline that showed where different types of butterflies lived.Butterfly Unit (2)

Outside there was a huge stone caterpillar that they boys could play on.Butterfly Unit (1)

The whole visit was only about an hour, but it was fun to see all the different kids of butterflies, my favorite was the blue morpho butterfly (I didn’t get a picture of one with open wings though).