Mrs. Madden's Second Grade Class
Blythe Academy
Greenville, South Carolina


My students had a blast learning about life cycles this year! During our study of butterflies, I used various strategies to teach the stages of the life cycle. Some of these strategies included:

1. Reading books � our favorites were:

Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom Deluise and Christopher Santoro

The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent (video available on United Streaming)

2. Watching Videos - we viewed the following from United Streaming

�Insect Life Cycles: Metamorphosis� �Animal Life Cycles�

3. Playing Games � an all-time favorite we played was�

�Butterfly Relay Race�  - this game reinforces the stages the butterfly goes through during metamorphosis using a relay

Directions:  Divide the class into teams of 4 (to represent 4 stages) � Place two students from each group on opposite sides of the room.  The first person in each group will represent the egg stage by racing across the classroom holding an egg in a spoon (if the egg falls, students must restart).  When they reach the other side of the room, the second person in the team will represent the larva stage by crawling back across the room.  The third person will go next, representing the pupa stage by standing inside a pillowcase (chrysalis) and hopping across the room.  The final person in the group will represent the adult stage (butterfly) by flapping their arms and running across the room to the �finish line�. 

4. Viewing PowerPoints � I found some great PowerPoints online about the butterfly�s life cycle to show students.

Leslie Brockert has created an awesome PowerPoint to share with teachers:

5. Reading Poetry/Singing Songs � a favorite of mine to compare life cycles is�..   

Caterpillars and Tadpoles


Living things all change and grow.
Caterpillars and tadpoles do, you know.
Little caterpillars hatch from eggs.
Baby tadpoles hatch from eggs
Caterpillars crawl as they grow strong.
Tadpoles grow as they swim along.
Caterpillars� legs will disappear.
Tadpoles sprout legs within a year
Caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
Tadpole is soon a frog, Oh my!
Butterfly learns to flutter and fly.
Froggie learns how to hop so high.
Living things all change and grow.
Frogs and butterflies did, you know.

6. Drawing Pictures and Diagrams � After reading the above poem students draw the stages in the butterfly and frog�s life cycles to compare them.

7. Real Life Experience � We hatch butterflies in our classroom (the butterflies are provided to us through our district science kits).

8. Extension Projects � Finally, students are encouraged to choose a project to complete to show their knowledge of the butterfly�s life cycle.

Projects chosen this year included,
� Paper Plate Life Cycle
� Macaroni Life Cycle Book (white bean for egg, corkscrew noodle for caterpillar, shell noodle for chrysalis, bowtie noodle for butterfly)
� Hand-Made books
� Mobiles (using a coat hanger)
� Puppets (made from paper and glued to craft sticks)
� Power Point slideshows (in groups)
� Posters with drawings and captions

Click HERE for a sample of a group Power Point created by students. If they chose this project, I provided them with specific guidelines to follow since we have been working on learning about fonts and animations in Power Point. I did assist students with grouping some of their objects together before adding animations. I also required them to use �random effects� as their animation of choice.

Students loved all of the strategies used to teach this unit and I feel that all students were able to master the content and show this through their extension projects. They loved having a choice (ownership) of the learning process!

South Carolina 2nd Grade Science Standards Addressed:


B.   Life Cycles of Organisms

S II B 1

        1.    Animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying.

S II B 1a

              a.    Observe and describe the growth and development of animals throughout their life cycles.

S II B 1b

              b.    Investigate and understand that animals go through a series of orderly changes in their life cycles.

S II B 1c

              c.    Observe growth in animals over time.

S II B 2

        2.    Animals closely resemble their parents.

S II B 2a

a.        Investigate that some animals go through distinct stages (metamorphosis)  during their lives while others generally

resemble their parents throughout their life cycle.

S II B 2b

              b.    Classify animals based on their similarities.



�  Susan Silverman and Sarah McPherson 2006