Butterfly Unit

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Just_Beginning2, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. Just_Beginning2

    Just_Beginning2 Rookie

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    Jul 8, 2008

    I am scheduled to do a unit on butterflies at the beginning of the school year. This is my first time doing the unit and I was wondering if anyone who has done a butterfly unit before could give some tips. Do you hatch your own butterflies and if so, how do you go about doing that? When is the best time to do it? Do you let them go when they are done? Im lost as far as this goes...:anyone:
     
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  3. ErikaG

    ErikaG Rookie

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    This was my first year teaching and the butterfly unit was my favorite science unit. Our school has a company that they order the butterflies from. (I can't remember the name right off.) The larva comes in the mail and it takes about 2 weeks for them to go through their metamorphosis. I had about 9 of my larva to survive. I put them in individual clear plastic cups and assigned my students different butterflies to observe. They each had a butterfly journal and used it to record their observations (what stage the butterfly was in, how big, color etc). Once all of the butterflies emerged from their chrysalis we released them. We went outside, got in a circle, and reviewed some of the things that we learned about butterflies. Then we released them. The kids were so excited! They loved it! So did I! You'll have a lot of fun with this unit.
     
  4. MsX

    MsX Companion

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    Jul 8, 2008

    I did a butterfly unit last year and yes we hatched them from eggs and watched them turn into butterflies. I bought them from a company called insectlore ( www.insectlore.com ). The kit was about 20 dollars and it comes with eggs and a net/cage where you can keep them. I dont remember exactly how long it took from eggs to butterflies but I think it was about 2-3 weeks. The kids really loved it.

    You have to buy the eggs sometime before it gets cold so it's best to do it soon after school starts. I did this unit as my first science unit - my aim was to teach observation skills and it worked really well! My kids learned how to observe and how to write and draw exactly what they saw.
     
  5. tgi1515

    tgi1515 Comrade

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    Jul 8, 2008

    It depends on what age you teach. I order caterpillars. I bought a butterfly habitat several years ago from Lakeshore and a mail-in card was included. Now that I've done a butterfly unit for several years, I would pick a different habitat. I wish the one I have would open from the side, or unzip easily. I have to untie it from the top and balance everything to open it.

    Anyway, I like the caterpillars that come from Lakeshore. The Lakeshore caterpillars are already pretty big when you get them and almost all of them morph. They only need a few days to build a chryslis and another 7 to 10 days to morph. I bought some online this year (thought it would be cheaper). The caterpillars were tiny when they came. Although it was interesting to watch the "Very Hungry Caterpillar(s)" grow into big, fat caterpillars, it took about a month to see the couple of butterflies that emerged. We had "fly away" day. We made "bug binoculars" out of 2 TP tubes to watch them. Be careful when you let them out. A few years ago, my sister-in-law was an aide in Texas and when they let theirs out, a flock of birds swooped.... no more butterflies. The kids were traumatized and the teachers were speechless. :eek: It was a learning opportunity to say the least.

    We do other life cycle activities/art while we are waiting for the morph. The kids love "The Crunching, Muching, Caterpillar" and "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" books, activities, and art that go with them.

    When I taught older kids, they made a paper plate life cycle that was divided into quarters. #1- a construction paper leaf, white bean or button. #2 - color a tree on the plate. Take a straw that has a white paper over it (I beg Johnny Carino's for straws when I'm there). Take a green marker and carefully color it while still on the straw. Carefully push the paper off the straw crinkling it up to look like a caterpillar. Glue it on a leaf or tree. #3 - color a tree and glue on a brown construction chryslis. #4 make a butterfly and glue it on. I have used coffee filters that were cut smaller, put a little marker on and spray with a little water, dry and glue down. I've also had them draw a small butterfly on white paper and glue it on.

    This was too much for Pre-K, so I have a blackmaster that we color, cut out and glue in a circle on construction paper with a title at the top "Butterfly Life Cycle". We add a white bean on the leaf for an egg. We do the coffee filter butterfly, but we use a whole filter, and a pipecleaner for the body and float them from the ceiling or BB.
     
  6. Just_Beginning2

    Just_Beginning2 Rookie

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    Jul 8, 2008

    Do you think letting them go close to the end of October is too late? I was planning to start this unit mid-Sept so if they take about a month they wont be let go until about then...
     
  7. tgi1515

    tgi1515 Comrade

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    Jul 8, 2008

    I always do my unit a the end of the year and start the caterpillars when I'm doing my plant unit.

    You could start the unit a little earlier while still doing beginning of the year stuff and have the release during your butterfly unit.
     
  8. Just_Beginning2

    Just_Beginning2 Rookie

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    Jul 8, 2008

    tgi1515... is the one you used from lakeshore the classroom kit? And do you recommend getting one that comes with the live caterpillars or the one that comes with the certificate for caterpillars?
     
  9. tgi1515

    tgi1515 Comrade

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    I originally bought the kit. I wouldn't do that now if I had it to do over. I would get something that zipped or opened from the side. Now, I buy the card and send it off with the date I want my caterpillars delivered.
     
  10. NewbieTeachr

    NewbieTeachr Rookie

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    Jul 8, 2008

    I haven't done one in my class but when I was in college a lot of my activities I planned were related to butterflies. A fun thing to do is to make a life cycle out of pasta. Use rice or couscous for the egg. Use Spiral pasta for larva. Use shell pasta for pupa and bowtie pasta for adult butterfly. Glue it do a paper plate or just a circle. It's cute.
     
  11. MsX

    MsX Companion

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    Jul 8, 2008

    Mid-october might be too late depending where you live. If it's cold where you are by then, then I'd say it wouldn't be a good time to release them!
     

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