Teaching and understanding the life cycle of a butterfly are not connected to a Performance Expectation. However, they are connected to the Washington State Science standard, LS1-B (Animals have life cycles that include being born; developing into juveniles, adolescents, then adults (which begins a new cycle); and eventually dying. The details of the life cycle are different for different animals.
My school district is part of a consortium that uses kits from our Educational Service District and the Life Cycle of the Butterfly has been utilized to address teaching this standard.
I read A Place For Butterflies to entice my students into learning more about this insect now that we have been through all the stages of the life cycle. I ask the children to come and join me at our meeting place and enjoy a story with me.
I begin to read, reminding the children that this is a time to listen and enjoy the words of the literature we are reading.
After completing the reading, I ask the children to think back to all the discussions we have had about the caterpillars and our creatures now, the butterfly.
"What is their purpose in our environment? Turn and talk to a shoulder buddy and have a bit of conversation about what you believe their purpose is in our environment."
I want my students to begin thinking about asking questions that relate to the natural world. (SP1) Using the concept of the butterfly and it's place in an ecosystem offers that opportunity to ask the question.
After about two minutes of conversation, I silence the children and ask for their attention again. I pose the question again...."What do you believe their purpose is in our environment?"
Answers will range from, "They are pretty to watch." to "They do things for our flowers."
All answers are accepted and acknowledged. "Yes, those are all great answers. I am also wondering if they have a greater purpose for us and what they do for our environment. I think that maybe they do. I think we should dig a bit more into this today. Let's go back to our tables and look at the screen, I want to show you some things that I think may make this more clear to us."
I send the children back to their tables and wait for them to settle in and face the screen.
Once the children are settled, I turn on the screen. I have my computer prepared and ready to go with the Body Parts of a Butterfly power point. This will be where the meat of the lesson will come from.
Slide one, simply shows the title screen and what we will be discussing for the lesson. Slide two shows a beautiful picture of a butterfly with the body parts labeled.
"Ok, everyone, here we go. Look at this picture. It is spectacular. It has all the parts of this butterfly labeled for us. I am wondering since the butterfly came from a caterpillar, do you think the body parts will be the same? Take a look and see how many you recognize from our other lessons. When you see anything that looks familiar, raise your hand."
Students should be able to recognize at least seven body parts that the caterpillar or chrysalis had (head, thorax, abdomen, antenna, proboscis, eyes, legs and wings).
"All of those are important parts of the insects body. The one I would really like to talk about today is the proboscis. It is a pretty incredible part."
Slide three shows a fantastic picture of a proboscis. It has an arrow pointing directly at it. This is helpful for those students who may not understand what you sharing with them, particularly the ELL and special needs students. The vocabulary of proboscis would be considered a tier three word. Any extra attention you could give it to visualize this concept is helpful to those students.
"Let me show you what a butterfly does with that part of its body. Because it is not possible to bring in a model of a live butterfly and it's proboscis, I want to demonstrate for the children what that body part looks like in action.
"What did you see that butterfly doing? Could you see anything coming from it's body into the flowers? That is the proboscis doing it's work. Now, let me ask you this again. Make an inference, and use what you learned in this video clip to tell me what you believe a butterflies purpose is in the environment now."
"Butterflies will use their proboscis to move from flowers to other flowers."
"Yes, they will. Why do you think this would be good for the flowers? Think for a moment and make a quick decision about your reasoning for this."
"Maybe it is to help the flower grow?" or "They do something for the flower when they land on it."
"Both of those answers are correct in a sorts. The butterfly is actually gathering nectar and sharing it with other flowers when it moves from one flower to another. This is called pollination (tier three word).
"Ok, let's see if we can use what we have learned about insects now and pull it all together. That proboscis is pretty important not only to the butterfly, but the environment too. That means that all those parts on the butterflies body are part of a.........I cannot remember what that word was that we learned about a long time ago. Does anyone remember what it is called, when all the parts work together?"
"It's a system!"
"That's right!!! That is what it is called. Let's see if we can remember all those labels and label this butterfly on the screen."
Slide six has a simple picture of a butterfly. I use my Smart Board pens with the Smart Ink and write the names of the body parts the children share with me on the screen. If they leave any parts out, I prompt them with simple clues.
I bring the children each a half sheet of slide seven and ask them to complete the task and give it to their team leader when the are finished. This will allow me to see if they have internalized the information about the body parts of a butterfly.
It will also scaffold into the future lessons about all insects and their body parts. This will be a direct link into the Cross Cutting Concept of Patterns in Nature. Connecting the butterfly body parts to other insects will demonstrate that there is a pattern in nature within classification of insects. The evaluation tool offers an opportunity for the children to transfer the information that was presented in the diagrams in the power point on the screen to the diagram on the evaluation piece.