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Butterfly Biodiversity (Grade 6)

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Biology Volunteer Activities
Main Image
Biology Volunteer Activities
Activity Language
Grade
Time Needed for Activity

Students learn about butterfly biodiversity, build a butterfly biodiversity mobile from simple materials, and watch a clip from the Carleton University butterfly show.

This activity has a lesson plan, PowerPoint with photos, and a short video clip. 

What You Need

Materials if dropping off at a school:

  • 18 paper butterflies per student (3 of each colour of cardstock - already printed)
  • 4 pieces of string each about 10 inches long per student
  • 1 straw (to use as a stick) per student
  • 3 beads per student

Students will need glue/tape as well as pencil crayons/markers, etc. to decorate their butterflies.

Materials if NOT dropping off at a school:

  • 18 paper butterflies per student, or paper to draw the butterflies
  • 4 pieces of string, ribbon, yarn, etc. (about 10 inches long) per student
  • 1 small stick from outside or a skewer per student
  • 3 beads with holes or something with a bit of weight to go at the end of each string per student
  • Glue or tape

Guide:

PowerPoint:

Video clip:

Butterfly Show Short Tour

Safety Notes

As a Let’s Talk Science volunteer, safety must be foremost in our minds during all activities. As STEM role models, volunteers must always also model safe science practices.

Always keep in mind the following precautions:

  • Emphasize and demonstrate appropriate safety procedures throughout the presentation.
  • Be professional but have fun.
  • Keep workspaces clean to avoid tripping hazards.
  • Allergens should have been checked before reserving the kit (e.g. allergies to latex).

What To Do

Show them how to make the first string of butterflies using the directions below. Be sure they can see what you are doing.

  1. Cut out your 18 butterflies. They are different colours but you can put different patterns on them with pencil crayons or pencils if you want to make them more diverse.
  2. Take one bead and slip it through one piece of string like the photo or tie it instead.
  3. Take that piece of string and choose 2 butterflies to start.
  4. Take one paper butterfly and put glue down the centre and place it along the string.
  5. Put glue down the centre of a second paper butterfly and place it over the first one.
  6. Repeat until you have 3 butterflies on the one string.
  7. Repeat steps 4-7 twice so you have 3 strings of butterflies.
  8. Tie each string to the stick trying to balance the strings across the straw.
  9. Tie a fourth string to the top of the stick in a loop (a triangle shape helps to balance the stick) and hang your mobile. If it isn’t balanced, slide the strings until it hangs straight.

Discovery

Investigate Further

If time permits, you can discuss ways that humans impact our ecosystems.

  • Residential and commercial development (e.g., building malls, houses, etc.)
  • Overfishing (taking too many fish at one time)
  • Over harvesting (e.g., when we find a plant that has medicinal properties we often pick too many - like a plant called ginseng which is now threatened with extinction in Canada)
  • Pollution (plastics, oil spills, chemicals from factories, car exhaust, plane exhaust, etc.)
  • Forestry
  • Agriculture – changing land from a forest or a meadow to a place to grow food or feed cattle; use of pesticides/pollution is also a huge threat for some pollinators
  • Introducing invasive species – species that can out compete other species native to the area (Zebra mussels, buckthorn (plant))
  • Transportation (building roads)
  • Climate change

Investigate Further

If time permits, you can discuss ways that humans impact our ecosystems.

  • Residential and commercial development (e.g., building malls, houses, etc.)
  • Overfishing (taking too many fish at one time)
  • Over harvesting (e.g., when we find a plant that has medicinal properties we often pick too many - like a plant called ginseng which is now threatened with extinction in Canada)
  • Pollution (plastics, oil spills, chemicals from factories, car exhaust, plane exhaust, etc.)
  • Forestry
  • Agriculture – changing land from a forest or a meadow to a place to grow food or feed cattle; use of pesticides/pollution is also a huge threat for some pollinators
  • Introducing invasive species – species that can out compete other species native to the area (Zebra mussels, buckthorn (plant))
  • Transportation (building roads)
  • Climate change

Resources

Guide:

PowerPoint:

Video clip:

Butterfly Show Short Tour