Living Bulletin Board: Life Stages of a Monarch Butterfly
by Donna Webb
(Isle of Palms, SC USA)
BUTTERFLY LIFE STAGES LIVING BULLETIN BOARD
Congratulations Donna - Winner of the Bulletin Board Contest!
I began this bulletin board with the idea of having a living board where children could pass by daily and see the actual life stages in action. It was a fun one to create and I hope that this will inspire others in some way to use any of the concepts. I wanted to create something that you could do without acquiring too many outside resources within a reasonable budget. So this is how I put it together. First, I laid the background with a natural burlap fabric. It is very inexpensive and can be found at most fabric stores. I just used my staple gun to secure it tightly. Then I purchased a straw rope from the hardware store and used my hot glue gun to trim the board and cover the staples that I had used to secure the burlap. This gave it a nature look from the get go! I wanted to display the life stages of a butterfly and specifically the Monarch Butterfly.
To set up the foundation, I purchased plain mats from a craft store...you could just use plain poster board or recycled cardboard for these at no cost! I found a variety of royalty free photos on the web of butterflies and caterpillars and just printed on regular paper at home. I cut them out and used a glue stick to glue them on in a collage fashion to make the frames. I then printed each stage and a few facts about the stage: egg, caterpillar, pupa (chrysalis) and adult on regular paper and mounted within the photo mats.
Also at the craft store, I found this pack of beautiful butterflies that were already on a thin wire so I just stapled them in various places and bent the wire to make them look like they were freely floating around the garden! I also purchased a .99 green plant and hot glued a few yellow blooms to look like the host plant, Milkweed. The other yellow flowers are symbolic for the nectar plants that they need as adults. The whole thing is 3 dimensional so it looks interesting to the children.
The fun part was setting up the little acrylic frames (very inexpensive) that were also purchased at the same craft store. I just cut out a piece of recycled cardboard to fit the back with a little room to tack it on the board. I drilled holes in the outside edges of the acrylic frames so that there was ventilation to help keep our creatures alive! Once I set up the living vignettes, I hot glued the acrylic box frames to the cardboard and tacked them up on the bulletin board within the photo mats.
It really turned out to be an interesting display of the life stages of the butterfly. I have a 10X magnifying glass next to the board for close up viewings for the tiny details like the egg. It is amazing. One of our caterpillars has already transformed into a chrysalis so the kids are having fun watching the changes daily!
You can go out and find the living creatures for your displays but I did order from Shady Oak Butterfly Farm in Florida just so that I could have them all set up at one time. Thanks for looking at our bulletin board. It is located at Sullivan's Island Elementary School in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.