Project Information

A Dance With the Butterflies

A Collaborative Internet Project for K-5 Students

Project Blog

How do butterflies survive their own metamorphosis?

In spring we think of the beauty of nature as trees sprout leaves, flower buds bloom and caterpillars become butterflies.  The life cycle of the butterfly is a process analogous to child development.   The transformation from infant to child to adolescent to adult follows the same changes as the butterfly.  Where do butterflies come from? shows the life cycle beautifully. Our project, A Dance With the Butterflies invites participants to interpret the butterfly’s metamorphosis. Students are given the opportunity to develop a culminating project of their choice.

This project will demonstrate lesson plans designed following principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and examples of student work resulting from the lessons.  As teachers we should ask ourselves if there are any barriers to our students’ learning.  We should look for ways to present information and assess learning in non-text-based formats.  UDL, developed by the Center for Applied Special Technology,  provides a framework for designing lesson plans.  Based on brain research and new media, the UDL framework proposes that educators design lessons with three basic kinds of flexibility:

1. Multiple formats and media are used to present information.

Examples: Illustrations, pictures, diagrams, video or audio clips, and descriptions

2.   Teachers use multiple strategies to engage and motivate students.

3.   Students demonstrate learning through multiple performance and product formats.

UDL calls for three goals to consider in designing lessons:

1.  Recognition goals: these focus on specific content that ask a student to identify who, what, where, and when.

2.  Strategic goals: these focus on a specific process or medium that asks a student to learn how to do something using problem solving and critical think skills.

3. Affective goals: these focus on a particular value or emotional outcome. Do students enjoy, and appreciate learning about the topic? Does it connect to prior knowledge and experience? Are students allowed to select and discover new knowledge?

Following the UDL principles design a lesson for the butterfly theme.  Give students choices for how to demonstrate their knowledge through drawing (paper or computer software), video that could be video stream or podcast, pictures and photos, audio recording of narrative and music, models, and maps.  Be creative and allow your students to experience Dancing with Butterflies as a metamorphosis of learning in new ways. 

Resources you might want to use:

Scholastic Keys, Kid Pix, Inspiration and Kidspiration, digital camera (still and video), recording narration/music, United Streaming.  Let your imagination go!

Project Timeline:

This project begins on March 15, 2006.  Materials need to be e-mailed by June 15, 2006.  Work will be posted when materials are received and will remain online to be used as a resource.

Project Guidelines:

Submit a short narrative of your learning experience and how it meets the criteria of Universal Design for Learning.  We will accept a maximum of 7 graphics per class.  Please try to keep your Power Point presentations no larger than 500 KB. We would appreciate it if videos are limited to 1 MB.  If you publish your own webpage at another site, you still must meet the project requirements (send narrative and images).  A link to your page will be included only if you identify and link back to this project.

Registration Information:
Please send the following information to Susan and Sarah at:

Your name
E-mail address
School name, Class grade level,Town
Your class web site url (not required)

 Project Coordinators

* A special thank you to Dana Liu, for creating the dancing butterflies. Dana is an eighth grader in Northport Middle School.  Her work will be counted for community service hours.
The other graphics were created by Susan Silverman in Paint Shop Pro.