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Butterfly Life Cycle (With Video)

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Biology Volunteer Activities

Students build a life cycle of a butterfly and then watch a 10 minute clip from the Carleton University Butterfly Show.

What You Need

Materials 

Materials should be made in individual paper envelopes so each student gets one envelope with all the materials.

  • 1 green shiny cardstock leaf and 1 shiny stickers attached to a backing (eggs)
  • 2 pieces of pipe cleaner (about 1/3 of a pipe cleaner each)
  • 1 paper shaped pupae (made from a coffee filter paper or tissue paper) and 1 piece of a toothpick (about 1/2 a toothpick with the sharp end cut off)
  • 1 shiny cardstock paper butterfly
  • 1 paper plate that isn't waxed (e.g., a crayon writes easily on the plate)
  • Glue stick

Guide:

Video clip:

See attached guide for alternative activity supply list for virtual learners.

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

Distribute the materials to each student and go through the instructions below.

  • Using the pencil crayon, draw a line down the middle of the paper plate (see the photo at the beginning of this lesson). Turn the plate and draw another line down the middle so there are 4 sections on the plate.
  • Take the leaf, put glue on the back, and stick it onto the plate in one of the sections.
  • Take one or both of the shiny stickers (these are the eggs) and pull them off the plastic backing and stick them on top of your leaf (some butterflies lay eggs on the top of leaves and some underneath the leaf).
  • Next, we need a caterpillar. Take the two pipe cleaners and twist them together, however you want to make it look a bit like a fuzzy caterpillar. Not all caterpillars look fuzzy.
  • Glue your fuzzy caterpillar to the section beside the one where you have your leaf.
  • Next, we have the pupae. A pupae often hangs on a twig so you need to take the piece of stick and glue it in the next section on your plate. Then, glue one end of the white piece of paper to the stick.
  • The last stage is the adult butterfly. Take your glitter butterfly and paste it in the last section on your plate.

A lifecycle refers to all the stages as animal goes through from an egg or seed into an adult. Butterflies begin as an egg and hatches to a caterpillar. A caterpillar eats a lot and grows until they become a pupae- which is where they undergo metamorphosis to become a butterfly!

What's Happening?

A lifecycle refers to all the stages as animal goes through from an egg or seed into an adult. Butterflies begin as an egg and hatches to a caterpillar. A caterpillar eats a lot and grows until they become a pupae- which is where they undergo metamorphosis to become a butterfly!