I spy butterflies

  • Published on October 6, 2017

Learning about butterflies in the classroom, especially when observations of the life stages with a live learning kit are possible, is almost magic for children. The growth of the caterpillars is obvious and children can watch as they moult and pass through each instar. The voracious appetite of the caterpillars means that plants are quickly stripped of their leaves and, if children listen carefully, the munching of the mandibles can be heard.

Many resources to support an early childhood science biology unit about butterflies in particular, or minibeasts in general, already exist in the readilearn collection; including:

I included suggestions for teaching about minibeasts, including butterflies, in a previous post Classroom minibeasts. While there are many minibeasts suitable to study in the classroom, butterflies are my favourite. This week the readilearn collection has grown with some new resources to support learning about butterflies; including:

Butterfly word cards is a collection of forty butterfly-relevant words which may be printed and displayed on a word wall or used to label a butterfly display. The words are presented in three different formats for printing choice.

The list includes some fascinating scientific terms; such as:

  • instar
  • frass
  • chrysalis
  • prolegs
  • emerge
  • pupa
  • imago
  • metamorphosis
  • larva
  • spiracles

and body part vocabulary; such as:

  • thorax
  • abdomen
  • antennae
  • exoskeleton
  • prolegs
  • spiracles

The resource includes a variety of suggestions for using the cards to extend learning; including, but not limited to:

  • syllabification
  • irregular plurals; such as antennae, pupae, larvae and ocelli
  • alphabetical order
  • reference for writing

Stained Glass butterflies A kaleidoscope of butterflies, made by gluing squares of cellophane to outlines printed on overhead transparencies, add colour and beauty to the classroom. The activity helps to develop fine motor skills and persistence and gives children a sense of pride and ownership of their classroom space. Don’t you just love that word for a group of butterflies – kaleidoscope!

kaleidoscope of butterflies

Draw a butterfly game is a simple dice game that can be used to help reinforce knowledge of butterfly anatomy. It is great for science or maths groups, or just as a fun learning activity. The game is presented in two versions to accommodate different abilities and time restraints.

I am working on some additional butterfly resources to add to the collection soon. Keep an eye out for them, including instructions for children to make a symmetrical butterfly with their name using PowerPoint.

Trey's butterfly

Dragona's Lost Egg

Also added this week – two new resources to support and extend learning from the interactive digital story Dragona’s Lost Egg.

which egg cover

Which egg is mine? is an interactive digital resource for use on the interactive whiteboard. It can be used with any number of players and any amount of time. It helps to develop logical thinking and descriptive mathematical language such as size, shape, colour and pattern. One child hides an egg card that matches an egg on the digital resource. Children ask questions to identify the egg. They click to remove eliminated eggs until only the correct egg remains.

Egg cards are designed for use with the interactive digital resource Which egg is mine? However, they can also be used independently, making the activities and games suitable for use in maths groups. Additional suggestions include Guess my egg and Which egg is missing?

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