The butterfly project began when the children read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. After reading the story, the children expressed an interest in butterflies and how they grow. So the class began talking about butterflies, how they’re in danger of extinction and how we can save them. The class also discussed the needs of butterflies like their preferred:
The teachers saw an opportunity to turn the children’s interest of butterflies into a larger, hands-on project to learn scientific concepts like lifecycles, and cause and effect. These concepts are important to child development so they will learn why things happen as they do and to appreciate the intricacies of life.
Seeing the Opportunity to Learn
To begin this project, the children each reading a part of The Very Hungry Caterpillar again to the class. Afterwards, they had a lunch eating all the foods that butterflies eat like fruits. Then, the teachers ordered caterpillars for the class to raise and release. When the Painted Lady caterpillars arrived, the children were very excited to begin taking care of them. They carefully raised the caterpillars by learning about their feeding habits and preferred environment.
To everyone’s joy, all of the caterpillars survived to transform into butterflies. Once it came time to release them, everyone gathered outside for the grand finale. The children opened the butterflies’ habitat and watched them flutter off.
Learning from Butterflies
Each step in raising the butterflies was a new opportunity to learn and have fun. During the course of this fun project, the children learned many new concepts and skills that they can take with them and apply in life:
- The lifecycles of butterflies for a greater appreciation of life
- How butterflies help give us food like fruits and vegetables
- Caring for the earth through preservation
- Cause and effect to understand why certain actions have certain results
- Counting through counting the number of butterflies and
- Recalling events over the course of days and weeks
This project was important because it taught the children learned why we need butterflies and other pollinators and why we need to help preserve them. The children also learned important skills like:
- Sharing with others
- Literacy through reading out loud to the class
- Being careful when handling delicate objects and creatures like butterflies