The Life Cycle of Butterflies by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards - Excellent book with over 400 beautiful photographs!
Materials - Teacher Lesson Plans
Construction Paper, markers, crayons, scissors, Virtual Butterfly Project
Introduction - Elementary Science Lesson Plans
We will be learning about the second of the Monarch Butterfly Stages - the Monarch Caterpillar.
What happens to the "egg shell" after the Monarch Caterpillar hatches?
The caterpillar eats it!
How big is the newly hatched caterpillar?
About as big as this comma , Note: Sometimes it is so tiny you can hardly see it and instead you first notice little "scratches" on the Milkweed leaf where they have eaten.
What happens as the caterpillar grows and gets too big for its skin?
It sheds its skin or "molts".
How many times does the Monarch Caterpillar molt?
About five times - depends on weather.
What happens to the old skin?
The caterpillar eats it!
How much food does a Monarch caterpillar eat?
Many Milkweed leaves...a medium size Tropical Milkweed plant (about 7-10 leaves).
How long does it take for the caterpillar to become "full grown" and ready to become a chrysalis (pupate)?
9 - 14 days
Why would it take only 9 days sometimes and 14 days other times?
Warmer weather makes it faster
How big does the Monarch caterpillar get?
1" - 1 3/4" or 25 to 45mm
What happens when it is time for the caterpillar to prepare to become a chrysalis?
The caterpillar wanders far from the plant and finds a protected place to attach and start the process of becoming a chrysalis (Pupation)
Activities - Teacher Lesson Plans
Have the students draw a picture of something they learned about the second stage of the Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle. Have them share with the class what their picture represents.
Use a ruler to put a line on the board representing the length of a full grown Monarch Caterpillar. Compare that to a comma , which is about the size of a newly hatched caterpillar. Older students could figure out about how much the caterpillar grows per day.
Update the time line on the blackboard showing the Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle through the caterpillar stage.
Have the students add to their “Virtual Butterfly” by representing the caterpillar on the work that they started last week with the Monarch egg. It takes about a month for an egg to turn into a caterpillar. Teach the four lessons over the month, correlating with this timetable.
Review Monarch Caterpillar stage and tell them that in next week's lesson they will be learning about the Monarch Chrysalis.
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.