Butterfly Lesson Plans

Lesson 4 - Butterfly

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Teacher Lesson Plans
"Life Cycle of a Butterfly" Unit - Four Lessons


Lesson 4 - Monarch Butterfly

Grade Level

Elementary Lesson Plans, Grades K-3

Concept/Topic Overview

Students learn about the Butterfly Stages of the Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle.

Science Standards Addressed

  • Kindergarten Lesson Plans - LIFE SCIENCE - Organisms - Living and non-living things, compare and contrast, simple groups for living things.
  • First Grade Lesson Plans - LIFE SCIENCE - Organisms - Observe and describe life cycles (how things grow and change).
  • 2nd Grade Lesson Plans - LIFE SCIENCE - Organisms - Recognize and describe life cycles.
  • 3rd Grade Lesson Plans - LIFE SCIENCE - Organisms - Recognize and describe structures of living thing that serve specific purpose in growth, survival and reproduction.
Above are the basic science standards addressed in these Elementary Lesson Plans. More science, math and art standards could also be covered in this Unit.

Objectives - Butterfly Lesson Plans

  • Discover the signs and what happens to the Monarch Chrysalis when it is time for the Butterfly to emerge.
  • Explore how long this fourth stage lasts.

Anticipatory Set

  • Ask the students to recall Stage 1, 2 and 3 of the Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle. Review what the students learned about the Monarch Chrysalis Stage and what was the sign that the next stage is about to happen (the chrysalis starts to change in color).

Resources - Butterfly Lesson Plans

  • Monarch Life Cycle Movie download or DVD
  • Butterfly photos of the Monarch life cycle stages
  • www.glorious-butterfly.com
  • The Life Cycle of Butterflies by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards - Excellent book with over 400 beautiful photographs!
  • Monarch Butterfly (Welcome Books) - Edana Eckart

Materials - Science Lesson Plans

  • Construction Paper, markers, crayons, scissors, Virtual Butterfly Project

Introduction - Elementary Science Lesson Plans

We will be learning about the fourth stage of the Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle - the Monarch Butterfly.


  • How do you know that is nearing the time when the Monarch Butterfly is going to emerge?
    • The Chrysalis changes color and becomes darker. Then, within 24 hours, usually overnight the Chrysalis becomes almost black and you can actually SEE THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY WINGS THROUGH THE "SHELL" OF THE CHRYSALIS. This is AMAZING!!
  • What happens next?
    • The Chrysalis starts to split from the bottom up and the butterfly appears in less than one minute!
  • What does the Butterfly look like?
    • Its wings are all shriveled and its body is fat with fluid. It starts to pump that fluid into the wings and they start to "grow" until the wings are big and beautiful. The butterfly will hang very still for a few hours while its wings dry and then it will fly away. A MONARCH BUTTERFLY IS BORN!!

Activities - Butterfly Lesson Plans

    • Have the students draw a picture of something they learned about the fourth stage of the Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle. Have them share with the class what their picture represents.

    • Update the time line on the blackboard to show the Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle through the butterfly stage.

    Virtual Butterfly
    • Have the students add to their “Virtual Butterfly” by representing the Butterfly that they learned about today. They have completed the Life Cycle of a Butterfly!

Closure - Butterfly Lesson Plans

  • Review Monarch Butterfly stage and the meaning of "Life Cylce".

Assessment of Learning

  • Informally assess the the student's progress through the input they share during the lesson and observations of their Art, Math and Virtual Butterfly project.

I hope these Free Lesson Plans are helpful in getting your students excited about science, nature, and the beautiful Monarch Butterfly.

My new Monarch Life Cycle PowerPoint is the perfect complement to these monarch lesson plans.

Check out Kindergarten, Bulletin Board and Preschool pages for other classroom ideas.

Make sure and give the parents of your students a link to this website so they can share the wonderful experience of Raising Butterflies with their kids at home this summer.

Return to Lesson Plan Introduction from Butterfly Lesson Plans

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