2 Monarch Butterflies for Third Graders Josefa VickeyPalolo Elementary
3 StandardsSC Pose a question and develop a hypothesis based on observationsSC Compare distinct structures of living things that help them to surviveSC Describe the relationship between structure and function in organismsLA Use oral language to obtain information, complete a task, and share ideasM Interpret data and state what the representation shows about the data
5 ObservationsStudents were reading a selection of books from the classroom library. A student who read a book about insects commented that caterpillars become butterflies. Another student said, “I have butterflies in my yard.” Another one said he did too. More discussion continued between the students about butterflies and caterpillars. I gathered the class together on the carpet and continued the discussion about butterflies as I wrote on chart paper under KWL.
6 After school when I got home I got a container and walked down the sidewalk to this milkweed plant near the road. I found 4 caterpillars. I took them to class the next morning and set the container on the table. As the students walked into the classroom, they noticed the container and walked over to see what was inside. They began talking and asking questions about the caterpillars, their size, shape, color, body parts and the food they eat.
7 How does a caterpillar become a butterfly? Research QuestionHow does a caterpillar become a butterfly?
12 Subjects Materials 4 Caterpillars 4 Caterpillars, 2 containers, moist milkweed leaves, twigs, nectar (juicy fruits), caterpillar and butterfly books, paper, pencils, markers, journal, chart paper and magnifying lenses.
13 ProceduresEach morning observe what is happening with the caterpillars.Record in your daily journal what you see in the container.Illustrate your findings.Compare and contrast from day to day what stage each caterpillar is in.In your group share and discuss your writings and illustrations.Read several books and take notes as you research butterflies.
14 Use the internet to gather information about the stages of the caterpillar and butterfly. In your groups write on chart paper under KWL what you learned about butterflies.Share with the class your findings.Draw the four stages of the butterfly life cycle and label it.Keep a folder of all your work.Make a graph of how long it took each caterpillar chrysalis to emerge into a butterfly.
53 If you observe caterpillars for several weeks then you will see metamorphosis take place because they change in the chrysalis into a butterfly. Female butterflies lay tiny eggs that in a few days hatch into larva (caterpillar). Then they eat a lot of milkweed leaves.They grow and shed their skin. They continue to grow to about 2inches. Then they make a silk web on the leaf or container and hang in a J form. Soon it is a cocoon (chrysalis). After about a week, it emerges into a beautiful butterfly.
54 Our results show that caterpillars become butterflies after being in a cocoon (chrysalis) for about 8-9 days. They go through a life-cycle called metamorphosis.Based on our results, we will retain our hypothesis.This study shows the changes that some insects/animals go through during their life cycle.
55 Next StepWe will research to find other insects or animals that go through metamorphosis. We plan to study tadpoles and frogs.We will share our findings with our family and friends.
57 ReflectionsI will gather butterfly eggs or keep the butterflies until they lay eggs so the students see the entire life cycle in the classroom.I will have each caterpillar in its own container.I will label each container.The students will be able to label their results and illustrations in a more organized way.