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Butterfly Life Cycle

Original WebQuest -


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Teacher Resources | Credits & References | Top of Page


Do you know where butterflies come from? 

In this WebQuest you and your partner will learn about butterflies.  You will use the Internet to see each of the 4 stages of the butterfly life cycle.

·           The egg

·           The caterpillar                                    

·            The chrysalis

·             The butterfly

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The Task

After listening to stories about butterflies you and a partner will learn more about the butterfly life cycle by visiting web sites to see the life cycle stages and different types of butterflies to learn more about this insect.

Your job will be to complete a life cycle storyboard and a PowerPoint on the butterfly’s life cycle. You will also keep a butterfly journal with your partner about what you learned.

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The Process

1.     Your teacher will ask students what they know about butterflies and read you some great books about them before starting this webquest.

2.     The teacher will assign a partner for you to work with. It is important that you work well together and share ideas.

3.     You and your partner will look at the webquest sites to see pictures of the life cycle of the butterfly and different kinds of butterflies.

4.     You and your partner will create a storyboard of the four stages in a butterfly’s life cycle before you start your 6 slide PowerPoint. You must include a slide for each of the 4 stages, a title slide, an “Interesting Things I Learned” slide, and a "Thinking Questions I Now Have" slide. That will give you a total of 7 slides.

5.     You will make one art project of the butterfly life cycle. Your choices are an egg on a leaf, a caterpillar, a butterfly that will emerge from its chrysalis and an adult butterfly. The teacher will give you the materials and directions.

6.     Discuss with your partner what you have learned. Keep a butterfly journal during each of the work sessions on what you are learning about butterflies.

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 Task #1

With your partner visit the following Web Sites:

Where do butterflies come from? Do butterflies grow up differently from people? Do they change as they grow? Find the names of the 4 life stages of the butterfly. This web page will be used for one of our crafts too!

Watch a Caterpillar Hatch from its Egg! What do you see? What type of caterpillar is this?

Anise Swallowtail Butterfly - View eggs, caterpillar, chrysalis, and the adult Anise Swallowtail butterfly.

Monarch Butterfly – View the images of the four stages for this butterfly.

Color a Butterfly life cycle poster Print out this poster and color it. Follow the directions for Painted lady butterfly colors.

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 Task #2

Create your PowerPoint storyboard, before your PowerPoint – You must get your storyboard approved before you begin your PowerPoint. Your PowerPoint must include the following:


Slide 1: Title Slide – Add a title, a digital picture of you and your partner, and both your names.


Slides 2 – 5: Each of the 4 life stages of the butterfly are shown - Use a title, a graphic, and bulleted text on each slide.


Slide 6 – Something new and interesting that you learned about butterflies. Use a title, bulleted text for the new facts you learned (at least 3), and add a butterfly graphic.


Slide 7 - Ask 3 thinking questions about what you'd like to know about butterflies now that you've learned so much.


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Task #3 Choose one and create your art project:

1.  Eggs on a Leaf


Green construction paper with a leaf drawn on it, crayons or markers, scissors, and Q-Tips (the Q-Tip ends will be the eggs).


Cut the leaf from the construction paper with scissors.

Draw in the leaf veins (optional)

Glue Q-Tip ends onto the leaf for eggs.

2.  Egg Carton Caterpillars


Egg cartons, crayons or markers, scissors, and pipe cleaners. (Googly eyes are optional)


Separate 4, 5, or 6 cups from an egg carton.

Using the point of a scissors, an adult should make 2 small holes at one end for the antennae.

Insert pipe cleaners for the antennae.

Add eyes, a mouth, and decorate.

3.  Butterfly Emerging from Chrysalis


Toilet-paper tube

Tongue depressor or ice cream pop stick

Butterfly graphic printed on heavy paper (see Billy Bear Butterflies and Bugs for images)

6" (150 mm), piece of pipe cleaner, folded in half

Markers or crayons

Scissors and glue


1.    Cut out and color a butterfly image. Make both halves look the same. The life cycle poster gives the colors for the painted lady butterfly. Put a small hole at the top of the butterfly's head.

2.    Color the toilet paper tube to look like a chrysalis. (A monarch butterfly's chrysalis is green, the painted lady chrysalis is reddish brown.)

3.    Take a piece of pipe cleaner and shape it like the letter "V". Put one point through the little hole in the butterfly's head and then twist it to look like antennae. Butterflies use these "feelers" to learn about their environment.

4.    Glue the butterfly to one end of the tongue depressor or pop stick. Let the glue dry.

5.    Curl the butterfly's wings and slide it into the chrysalis.

6.    Pull the stick to make the beautiful butterfly come out of the chrysalis. Fly your butterfly like a real one!


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Task #4

1.  You have seen and learned a lot about butterflies.

Discuss what you learned with your partner.

Do butterflies grow up differently from people?

How do these insects change as they grow?

How many stages do they have?

What do the stages look like?

We saw pictures of different kinds of butterflies. Do they all look the same?

2. Write in your Butterfly Journal each day that you and your partner work. Be sure to use complete sentences. Be sure to write a thinking question at the end of each day.

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This rubric will show how well you worked with your partner and completed each of your tasks. The teacher will talk to you about how you did and give you ideas about what you did best and how you might do better next time. You are in school to learn and will want to do your best. The teacher will try to help you.



Minimum Effort







My partner and I worked well together.

My partner and I could not get along and share ideas.

My partner and I could get along and share ideas sometimes.

My partner and I worked well together and shared our ideas.


The butterfly stages

My partner and I can not name the 4 stages of the butterfly.

We don't know how they change as they grow.

My partner and I can name some of the 4 stages of the butterfly.

We know something about how they change as they grow.

My partner and I can name all 4 stages of the butterfly.

We know how butterflies change as they grow.


The life cycle storyboard

My partner and I did not complete the life cycle storyboard.

My partner and I completed the life cycle storyboard, but it had errors.

My partner and I completed the life cycle storyboard correctly.


The PowerPoint

My partner and I completed 3 or less slides.

My partner and I had 4-5 correctly completed slides.

My partner and I completed the 7 slide PowerPoint – Title slide, each life stage (4 slides), and  Interesting Facts slide, and concluding "thinking questions" slide



My partner and I need to practice more before presenting to our audience. We were hard to hear and didn’t look at our audience like we should.

My partner and I were sometimes hard to hear and understand. Keeping our eyes on our audience was sometimes difficult for us.

My partner and I presented our PowerPoint by speaking clearly and loud enough to be heard. We maintained eye contact with our audience.


Life cycle art project

The project was incomplete.


The project was completed correctly.


My partner and wrote about what we learned in our Butterfly Journals.

We had 3 or less entries of 3 sentences, and our sentences were not complete.

We had 4 -6 butterfly journal entries with 3-5 complete sentences.

We had 7-10 journal entries with at least 5 well written sentences in each entry. One "thinking question" for each day's entry.



I hope you and your partner enjoyed learning about butterflies. You worked hard and learned a lot about these beautiful insects. Great job!

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Teacher Resources

Indiana Curriculum Standards

2nd Grade Science Standards:


Describe, both in writing and verbally, objects as accurately as possible and compare observations with those of other people.


Draw pictures and write brief descriptions that correctly portray key features of an object.


Observe and identify different external features of plants and animals and describe how these features help them live in different environments.


Observe that and describe how animals may use plants, or even other animals, for shelter and nesting.


2nd Grade Math Standards


Investigate and predict the result of putting together and taking apart two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes.


Use tools such as objects or drawings to model problems.


2nd Grade E/LA Standards


Create a list of ideas for writing.


Organize related ideas together to maintain a consistent focus.


Understand the purposes of various reference materials (such as a dictionary, a thesaurus, or atlas).


Use a computer to draft, revise, and publish writing.


Revise original drafts to improve sequence (the order of events) or to provide more descriptive detail.


Write for different purposes and to a specific audience or person.


Organize presentations to maintain a clear focus.


Speak clearly and at an appropriate pace for the type of communication (such as an informal discussion or a report to class).


Report on a topic with supportive facts and details.


Report on a topic with facts and details, drawing from several sources of information.


NETS -  National Educational Technology Standards for Students

Prior to completion of Grade 2 students will:

  1. Use input devices (e.g., mouse, keyboard, remote control) and output devices (e.g., monitor, printer) to successfully operate computers, VCRs, audiotapes, and other technologies. (1)
  2. Use a variety of media and technology resources for directed and independent learning activities. (1, 3)
  3. Communicate about technology using developmentally appropriate and accurate terminology. (1)
  4. Use developmentally appropriate multimedia resources (e.g., interactive books, educational software, elementary multimedia encyclopedias) to support learning. (1)
  5. Work cooperatively and collaboratively with peers, family members, and others when using technology in the classroom. (2)
  6. Demonstrate positive social and ethical behaviors when using technology. (2)
  7. Practice responsible use of technology systems and software. (2)
  8. Create developmentally appropriate multimedia products with support from teachers, family members, or student partners. (3)
  9. Use technology resources (e.g., puzzles, logical thinking programs, writing tools, digital cameras, drawing tools) for problem solving, communication, and illustration of thoughts, ideas, and stories. (3, 4, 5, 6)
  10. Gather information and communicate with others using telecommunications, with support from teachers, family members, or student partners. (4)

More Web Site Resources: (They may be used to extend the webquest)

Make Edible Caterpillars

For fun, try Butterfly math.

The Fascinating World of Butterflies - This site has interesting facts about butterflies and great photos.

Take A Closer Look! - These images let you see butterflies in a very different way. These were created using a scanning electron microscope.

Send a butterfly postcard!

What is a Butterfly? - Lots of information about butterflies and moths.

Butterflies of North America - Discover the butterfly species in your state.

Butterflies for Kids - Butterfly information, printables, puzzles and a quiz to test your knowledge.

Butterfly School - Learn more about butterflies, their behaviors and how to build a butterfly house.

Billy Bear Butterflies and Bugs – Butterfly activities, games, crafts and graphics.


Parts of a Butterfly – This site shows the butterfly body parts.


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Credits & References

The images of the caterpillar and butterfly in the heading of this page came from the Thinking Fountain Metamorphosis page.

The remaining images were downloaded from Microsoft Design Gallery Live

Watch a Caterpillar Hatch from its Egg! Available April 2002

Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon) life cycle Available April 2002

Monarch Butterfly images from Billy Bear Available April 2002

The butterfly life cycle poster Available April 2002

Egg Carton Caterpillar art project Available April 2002

Butterfly Emerging from Chrysalis art project Available April 2002

Billy Bear Butterflies and Bugs – Butterfly activities and graphics Available April 2002

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Last updated on November 30. 2004

Designed by  Lori Weider

Lincoln School, New Bedford, MA.


Adapted by

Dianna Bennis


Franklin Community School Corporation

Franklin, IN


Last updated on July 8, 2005