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Life Cycle of a Butterfly Week

Life cycle of a butterfly week was not only exciting,  it was life-changing – particularly for the caterpillars!  Read on below to learn about what took place.

The teachers began the week with an interesting question – What is the life cycle of a butterfly?  To help explain what life cycle was, the teachers drew on a more familiar example – people.  Skipping a few biological stages, the teachers asked, “What do people start out as when they are first born?”  The children answered, “babies” and the Life Cycle of a Person flow chart began.  The children identified the next stages as little kid, big kid, and grown-up.  The teachers then asked if the students thought that the life cycle of a butterfly was like the life cycle of a person with a baby butterfly, a little butterfly, a big butterfly then an adult butterfly.  Some children were very sure that the two life cycles were not similar while others were confident that it was just like the life cycle of a person.

In order to find out the answer to the question, the teachers utilized a classroom favorite, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  In the story, the reader follows an egg on a leaf as it turns into a hungry caterpillar and then becomes a “big fat caterpillar” who makes a cocoon until he emerges as a beautiful butterfly!  After hearing the story, the students knew exactly what happened and decided to change their chart.
The excitement only increased when the students learned about their new friends at school – pet caterpillars!  The students took turns observing and examining the caterpillars while they moved around their jars.

In order to welcome the caterpillars to Park Prep, the children created their own caterpillar art project.  Using pom-poms, googly eyes, and a Popsicle stick, the children assembled their very own colorful caterpillar!

By the end of the day, Park Prep looked like it had been taken over by caterpillars – well, at least on the tray where they were held!

Tuesday began with a review of the butterfly life cycle as well as a quick introduction of the caterpillar friends to the two days a week children.  It was also pajama day!

Before beginning the art project of the day, the teachers asked the children which bulletin board they thought would be a good one for a butterfly art project.  Seeing that one board was set up with large flower tops on the bottom and a rainbow in the sky, the children quickly identified it and began working!
For morning work, the children reviewed various pictures of butterflies.  All of the pictures showed bright and beautiful multicolored butterflies with brilliant designs on their wings.  This was clearly the perfect inspiration for the children because all of their butterflies looked amazing!  After they assembled their butterfly, the children painted their own brilliant designs on the butterfly’s wings.

These butterflies proved to be an excellent addition to the classroom’s bulletin boards.

During the afternoon, the children observed a technology presentation all about butterflies.  They learned exciting butterfly facts like this one:  Butterflies are related to crabs and lobsters because like those sea creatures, butterflies have skeletons on the outside of their bodies. They’re arthropods:  insects, crustaceans, millipedes, centipedes, and arachnids. They even saw them fluttering around in their natural habitat.

Particularly neat was seeing a time-lapse video of the full butterfly life cycle.

After seeing the actual transformation, the children checked on the caterpillars.  As they learned from the story and also saw for themselves, the children knew that these caterpillars would not be staying caterpillars for very long.

On Wednesday, the children observed that the caterpillars were in the chrysalis stage of their development. In anticipation of their “almost butterfly” status, the children created a butterfly craft!  First they used paint to decorate a coffee filter.

After their outdoor playtime, the children returned to school to find that the paint on the filters had dried.   With a little help from the teachers, the filters were folded up, accordion-style, and clipped into the clothespin.  The children had to paint their clothespin and attach the antennae as well as some silly googly eyes.

The butterflies were absolutely gorgeous!

Seeing that the caterpillars were changing before their eyes, the children began to wonder when they would be changing into butterflies.  The teachers put together another technology presentation to help answer their question.  Here is a quick and catchy song that helped the children review the stages of a butterfly’s life cycle.

After learning and singing along to the song, the children began to complain that two weeks was “too long” to wait.  This was the perfect segue to the next clip that the teachers included in their presentation to show the children how important it was to be patient and not rush the butterflies out of their cocoons or chrysalides.  Watch below to see what happens when a caterpillar from the popular movie, A Bug’s Life, does not wait until the entire metamorphosis has taken place before leaving his cocoon.  It is quite silly!

After seeing this, the children decided that they would not rush their caterpillar friends out but rather wait until they were ready to come out on their own.

Thursday marked the second bus field trip of the summer!  This time, the children were headed to the New Jersey Childrens Museum in Paramus.  From the dinosaur cave, to the Wild West, to the restaurant/kitchen, to the emergency care room, to the fire engine, to the science room, the children (and even the teachers) surely had a great time!

By Friday morning, the children noticed that all ten of the caterpillars were in the chrysalis stage and would need to be moved into a larger container – just in case they decided to come out over the weekend.

Friday was also a very special day at PPA.  It was the Park Prep Pizza Party Family Picnic at the Park!  Whew!  That’s a lot of P’s!  Well, the picnic was plenty of fun!  Thank you to all of the families who were in attendance.  It was great spending our lunchtime with you!  We hope you had as much fun as we did!

In the afternoon, the children learned a silly song about the lost caterpillar named Little Joe!  Listen in below to learn about Little Joe!

Well, that is all for Life Cycle of a Butterfly Week – or is it?  Although we move onto a different theme, we will still be observing our cocoons to see what happens!

As always, thank you for reading and see you next week!