Lesson 4: Insect Life Cycles


Activity 1: Butterfly Life Cycle

Materials: bowtie pasta, glue, penne pasta, rice, shell pasta
Tell your child that the butterfly is another animal where the young animal does not look like its parents. Ask your child what she knows about the life cycle of a butterfly. Butterflies begin life inside an egg. After they hatch from their egg, they are a caterpillar (also called larva). A hard shell called a chrysalis then forms around the caterpillar. Inside this chrysalis the caterpillar is changing into a butterfly. Let your child label the life cycle stages of the butterfly on the sheet, "Butterfly Life Cycle."

Now your child can illustrate the butterfly's life cycle stages using pasta. Give your child the three or four pieces of the following types of pasta: rice, bowtie pasta, penne pasta, and shell pasta. Let her identify which pasta represents the different stages of the butterfly's life cycle. She can glue them on the life cycle wheel where they belong.

Answers: rice (eggs), caterpillar/larva (penne pasta), chrysalis/pupa (shell pasta) and butterfly (bowtie pasta)

Activity 2: Butterfly Craft

Materials: black pipe cleaner, cardstock, construction paper*, craft stick, markers, toilet paper tube
Give your child the "Butterfly Craft" page and materials. Encourage her to read the directions and make the craft.

Activity 3: Mealworms and Ladybugs

Materials: What Is a Life Cycle? by Bobbie Kalman, markers
Let your child look at the life cycle wheels on the page, "Mealworms and Ladybugs." Help her find information online about the life cycle of a mealworm. She can find information about the life cycle of a ladybug on pp. 12-13 of the book. Encourage her to look at colored pictures of each stage and to label the stages on the wheel. Then she can color the stages of each insect's life according to their actual color.