Butterfly Lesson Ideas

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

Do you teach a butterfly unit with your class?  It is one of my favorite topics to teach because my kids are always so excited to see first hand how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. I have gathered some of my favorite butterfly lesson resources to share with you.


Read Aloud Books About Butterflies

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

Integrating reading with science is a great way to make instruction meaningful for students by providing connections to the real world.  I love picture books that help to introduce students to the world that they live in while exposing them to quality literature and boosting their love of reading.  I like to choose at least one related read aloud for each day of the unit.

I Wish I Were a Butterfly

This book is about a butterfly, but it is so much more.  A little cricket stops singing because a frog told him that he was ugly.  It takes a while but the other animals of the pond are able to convince the cricket to be proud of who he is.


Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly

Velma is a young girl living in the shadows of her older sisters.  She desperately wants to find something that will make her stand out and make her special.  It is easy for young readers to make connections with this book.  This book uses expressive language and beautiful pictures to share facts about butterflies.  

Adios Oscar!

This is another butterfly story with a great message.  Oscar, the caterpillar, is inspired by a beautiful monarch that migrates to Mexico.  He dreams of migrating to Mexico, but when he come out of his cocoon, he is a simple gray moth.  Oscar learns a great lesson about never giving up on your dreams.

Farfillina and Marcel

This book tells the story of Farfillina, a caterpillar, and Marcel, a gosling becoming best friends. Although major changes happen in both of their lives, they are able to keep their friendship alive.  I love to relate this to the friendships between my students.   


Hurry and the Monarch

This book tells the story of Hurry, an old tortoise, making friends with a beautiful monarch butterfly.  Hurry lives in Texas and the monarch is migrating to Mexico for the winter.  The monarch’s visit with the old tortoise is short which allow the reader to follow along on the journey to Mexico.  This book has beautiful pictures that show the life cycle of a butterfly.  The book also has a simple map that shows how far the monarch butterflies migrate each year.  

Butterfly Nonfiction Reading Passage

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

In addition to read alouds, I like to give my students as many opportunities as possible to interact with nonfiction text.  I love this type of passage because it gives the students a chance to use text evidence to prove their answers in a less intimidating format.

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

During response to reading time, the students are able to chose from these two graphic organizers to complete independently.

You can grab this butterfly set for FREE to use in your classroom by clicking on the image above.

Butterfly Life Cycle in the Classroom


Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

 If there was a bucket list for elementary school….watching the butterfly life cycle would definitely be on it.  This has been a classroom favorite for many years.  I order my caterpillars from Insect Lore.  I am sure there are other places to get them, but I have not checked into it.

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

It usually takes about 3 weeks for the butterfly to complete its life cycle.

Concrete Model of the Butterfly’s Life Cycle

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

You have probably seen this idea before but it is such a great way for students to build a concrete model of a butterfly’s life cycle.

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

A lot of times the life cycle is shown on a paper plate to show its circular pattern.  I like to have my kids make a book with a page for each part of the life cycle so they can integrate more writing into the project.  

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

After we made a concrete model of the butterfly’s life cycle, my kids were able to create their own life cycle book.  One of the simplest apps that I have found for this is Story Creator.

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

Students are able upload pictures they found on the internet to their books and add text. 

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

I also have my kids photograph their own work to add to the book.

Butterfly Life Cycle Video


This video is produced by Duncan Scott for the Chicago Nature Museum.  He uses time-lapse photography to travel through the life cycle of a Monarch butterfly.  I particularly like this video because there are actual close-up images that the kids love.  My class will watch this video over and over on the I-Pads….it’s that good!

Butterfly Fun

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

After reading about how butterflies are able to get nectar from flowers, my students were curious about the butterfly’s proboscis worked.  They were having a hard time visualizing what it would look like.  So, we set up a simple butterfly simulation station.

Butterfly Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Teaching Ideas for Butterflies to Use in Your Primary Classroom Includes a FREEBIE

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