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A butterfly inquiry
Our Butterfly Inquiry
11 Mar, 2017. 1 Comment. A Day In First Grade, Kindergarten, Kindergarten Science. Posted By: Kristen Smith

A kindergarten butterfly inquiry

For the past two weeks we have been learning about the life cycle of a butterfly in our kindergarten classroom. It all started when our delivery of caterpillars arrived. My students were immediately drawn to them and began asking questions. They wondered how long it would take them to turn into butterflies and especially wondered what kind of butterflies they would turn into.

kindergarten students document what they are noticing throughout a butterfly's life cycle

This year I have made it my goal not to answer questions and wonderings directly but rather to turn them back to the students and create activities that let my young learners work towards finding the answer to their questions.

Kindergarten students create an "I see, I think, I wonder" chart during a butterfly inquiry

One of our first activities was to complete an “I see, I think, I wonder” chart. Early one morning I set up a butterfly museum in my classroom.

This kindergarten teacher transformed her classroom into a butterfly museum to increase engagement during a butterfly unit. Great Idea!! This kindergarten teacher transformed her classroom into a butterfly museum to increase engagement during a butterfly unit. Great Idea!!

At each table I set a few things to peak my students’ interests. I used books, pictures, posters, specimens, scientific tools, and more!

This kindergarten teacher transformed her classroom into a butterfly museum to increase engagement during a butterfly unit. Great Idea!!

This kindergarten teacher transformed her classroom into a butterfly museum to increase engagement during a butterfly unit. Great Idea!!

I told my students that their job was to walk around to each exhibit and write down a fact, question, or observation at each table using the Post It Notes.

This kindergarten teacher transformed her classroom into a butterfly museum to increase engagement during a butterfly unit. Great Idea!!

My students took their job very seriously and went to each table with such focus and determination.

This kindergarten teacher transformed her classroom into a butterfly museum to increase engagement during a butterfly unit. Great Idea!!

Throughout the process they would ask each other questions, talk about the butterflies, and use our vocabulary words.

This kindergarten teacher transformed her classroom into a butterfly museum to increase engagement during a butterfly unit. Great Idea!!

It was such a great learning activity. {I for sure will be doing this again!}

This kindergarten teacher transformed her classroom into a butterfly museum to increase engagement during a butterfly unit. Great Idea!!

We then used our chart throughout our unit trying to answer the questions that we had and learn more about things we noticed.

As our inquiry continued, we carefully documented what we noticed going on with our caterpillars and read many books.

Kindergarten students document what they notice throughout the life cycle of a butterfly

My students even created T-chart surveys during exploration centers to poll the class to see what stage of the life cycle they liked best!

T-chart Poll: Which do you like better caterpillars or butterflies?

Each day throughout our inquiry we focused on one stage of the life cycle. With this daily focus we were able to dig really deep into each stage. We watched videos, read books, and created a variety of projects to help solidify what we were learning.

When we were learning about the caterpillar stage, we created button caterpillars out of pipe cleaners, buttons, and beads. The kids also cut out felt leaves to show that their caterpillars needed to eat, eat, eat during this stage!

kindergarten students created button caterpillars out of pipe cleaners buttons, and beads kindergarten students created button caterpillars out of pipe cleaners buttons, and beads kindergarten students created button caterpillars out of pipe cleaners buttons, and beads

They were very proud of their projects!

When learning about the butterfly stage, we used a few different art mediums to showcase what we were learning.

We drew butterflies using Sharpies and watercolored them.

Kindergarten students use different art mediums to show what they notice about butterflies

We formed butterflies out of clay.

Kindergarten students use different art mediums to show what they notice about butterflies

We also made butterflies using pattern blocks!

Kindergarten students use different art mediums to show what they notice about butterflies

When my students were building these, they took much care to ensure that their butterflies were symmetrical! I loved the conversations that took place during these projects!

During our literacy block, my students used the Waseca Biomes Wheel Of Life to extend their learning! They loved using this beautiful material.

Kindergarten student uses the Waseca Biomes "Wheel Of Life" to better understand the life cycle of a butterfly.

(link: https://wasecabiomes.org/products/wheel-of-life-life-cycle-of-a-butterfly)

Kindergarten student uses the Waseca Biomes "Wheel Of Life" to better understand the life cycle of a butterfly. Kindergarten student uses the Waseca Biomes "Wheel Of Life" to better understand the life cycle of a butterfly.

By far one of our favorite activities during the unit was using our iPad microscope to look closely at the wings of a butterfly at our Science center. This ignited so many questions and discoveries!

kindergarten students use classroom technology to look closely at the wings of a butterfly

The butterfly specimen cards came from here:

And the microscope that we were using is this:

(I will say that this microscope was a bit of a hassle to put together (it took me about 20 minutes) but SO worth it once assembled. If you purchase it, make sure you use the QR code to view the video so that you put it together correctly! It does not come with very good directions– the video is very helpful!!)

We had SUCH a blast learning about butterflies! If you would like my step by step lessons plans, activities, and posters, they are all available in my butterfly mini unit! You can purchase it from my store on Teachers Pay Teachers. Here is the link:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Life-Cycles-Butterfly-Edition-3033846

This blog post contains affiliate links to Amazon at no cost to you. 

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One Comment
  1. I think this is a great resource for fellow teachers. Thank you for sharing it.

1 Comment

  • I think this is a great resource for fellow teachers. Thank you for sharing it.

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