We are starting one of my favorite units in first grade and that is our butterfly unit. Not only do I love teaching about butterflies and their life cycle but my students generally love learning about them. The life cycle of a butterfly is a pretty interesting topic. The students may also be excited to learn about butterflies because I am also very excited to teach butterflies.
We usually line our butterfly unit up to when we have caterpillars show up in our classroom. I am fortunate enough that my school will pay for all of the first grade classes to get the butterfly larva, the caterpillars, shipped to us. We usually plan it for the caterpillars to arrive the week after spring break. The caterpillars arrive generally on a Thursday and we plan the butterfly unit the following week. This also provides opportunities for the larva to pique the students’ interests. This year was no different.
After having them for several days for the students to observe the butterfly larva the prior week, we will start the unit on a Monday by doing a schema map. This is an anchor chart where we write down all of our prior knowledge the class knows about butterflies.
Some of you may already be aware but I am also a TeacherTuber on YouTube so I have a playlist that you may be interested in checking out. I use these videos throughout the unit, too. (Click the photo to go to my YouTube channel playlist).
We also read a variety of books. I love to use many different types of fiction and nonfiction texts. Many of the students love to grab a nonfiction text to read in their own. Below is a few of my favorites. I also have a collection of books that I assign to my students through Epic! Books. If you are not familiar with Epic! Books I ask what are you waiting for? It’s free for teachers and has a very large array of books for the students to read on the computer or tablet.
We also do a lot of activities during the week. Here are a few of the ones we did this time. You may click on the photos to get taken to the product page (if available) on Teachers Pay Teachers.
After the week is over, the students get to apply their new knowledge throughout the remaining process of the butterfly’s metamorphosis.
After the butterflies have all emerged from their chrysalis we will let them go the next day. The students are always so excited to watch them flutter away to start the cycle over again.