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Students will be able to compare characteristics of moths and butterflies by creating a book.

Big Idea

The students were excited to learn about butterflies. This lesson helps them to understand the butterfly's close relative, the moth.

Materials and Prep

15 minutes

Materials Needed:

  • Moth Book included as a PDF with this lesson.  The master makes two books.  Use the double, side-staple option on the copy machine and then cut the book in half.
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • glue
  • crayons


10 minutes

To begin this lesson, I lead the students through a review of our learning from the previous day.  I ask the students, What can you tell me about butterflies?  I record their answers on chart paper (or a blank Smartboard screen).  I say to the students, Wow!! You have really learned a lot about butterflies.  Today, we are going to learn about an insect that some people call the Butterfly's Cousin.  Do you know what that insect might be?  That's right!  A moth!  Today, we are going to learn about moths.  Let's move over to the Smartboard and see what characteristics moths and butterflies have in common. 

Direct Instruction

15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SMART Board.  If you have a SMART Board, the Comparing Moths and Butterflies notebook file can easily be downloaded and opened.  If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  Click here to download. There is also a pdf of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson:  Comparing Moths and Butterflies PDF of Notebook Pages.pdf

I gather my students in front of the SMART Board.  I have cards with each student's name on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the Smartboard.

I open the first slide (SMART Board Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms.  There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques.  I read these objectives aloud for my students.

Content Objective
I can tell how a moth and butterfly are alike and different.

Language Objective
I can describe ways that a moth is different than butterfly for a friend.

We then move on to slide 2.

Slide 2:  Butterflies and moths are alike in some ways.

  • Have scales on wings.
  • Go through life cycle changes.
  • Have two sets of wings.
  • Have six legs.

Slide 3:  They are also different in many ways.

Slide 4: Butterflies rest with their wings closed.  Moths rest with their wings open.

Slide 5:  Butterflies' antennae have knobs on the end.  Moth antennae look like feathers.

Slide 6:  Butterflies fly at day.  Moths fly at night.

Slide 7:  Butterflies have smooth bodies.  Moths have furry bodies.

Slide 8:  Butterflies form chrysalises. Moths form cocoons.

Slide 9:  I point out the chrysalis and the cocoon.

Slide 10:  A chrysalis is formed when a butterfly caterpillar sheds its skin for the last time.  A cocoon is formed when a moth caterpillar uses its mouth to make a thread  and wraps this thread around its body.

Slide 11:  The life cycle of the moth.  I talk the students through each step.  We talk about how it is similar to the life cycle of the butterfly.  

Slide 15:  It is now time for Turn and Talk.  I use Turn and Talk to build and strengthen the vocabulary and expressive language of all my kindergarten students.  Each student has an assigned partner.  I ask them to raise hands with their partner so I know everyone is partnered up.  After they raise their hands, I pose the question to them:  What ways are butterflies and moths alike?  What ways are they different?  I give them time to talk and when everyone has had a time to share, I ask volunteers to share what they come up. I make sure all similarities and differences are covered. 

We then move back to our seats for Independent Practice.

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

15 minutes

I distribute the Moth Book to the students and say to them, Now it is time for you to show me what you know about moths.  You are going to read the sentences on each page and then decide the correct words to complete the sentence.  For example, the first sentence says, "Moths fly at"...and it gives me two choices, day or night.  I need to circle the correct answer. You will continue through the book until you get to the next to last page.  Again, you are going to put together a life cycle again.  This time, it will be the life cycle of a moth.  Cut out the pictures on the last page and arrange them in the correct order. I can check your work when you are done before you glue it down. 

Just like our butterfly book, this will be a great book to share with your family.  I want you to teach them all about moths!

The students begin working and I observe their work and assist with reading the sentences when needed.  When they are done, they read their books to me see video and then they work on coloring the book until the entire class is finished and we move into our lesson closing.


7 minutes

To wrap up our learning about moths, I invite the students to come and sit at the Smartboard.  I open the file that has the Venn diagram comparing moths and butterflies.  There is a PDF included if you do not have a Smartboard: Venn Diagram Comparing Butterflies and Moths PDF

We work together to complete the diagram.  This is a great way for the students to summarize their learning on moths.  It also supports their growth in NGSS Science and Engineering Practice-8, Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information.  The students must evaluate the information they have gained and place it in the correct space on the Venn Diagram.  The students are learning that the Venn Diagram in a wonderful tool for sharing information about two things, allowing for easy comparison.