Butterfly Unit Study

Oh boy! This was so much fun. Hailey has recently shown such an interest in bugs that I wanted to integrate it into her schoolwork. We had purchased a bug collection kit for her and she seems to be out everyday looking for new things to examine. She has a butterfly net for catch and release observation, and a insect mounting kit for those bugs that have already expired.

I figured that butterflies would be a great place to start on our insect study. We started out at the library and checked out about 15 different books about butterflies. I found some great pictures on the anatomy of a butterfly here. This really helped us understand the intricacies of how a butterfly works.

We also utilized materials from Homeschool Share and a Hands of a Child Project pack that we downloaded for free this summer.

Once we had learned the anatomy fairly well (and had demonstrated such by drawing pictures on the patio with sidewalk chalk) we decided it was time for a field trip. I found a local butterfly farm here in Florida and we  went and wandered around their gardens for a while and questioned the folks that worked there for a while. We left the proud keepers of 5 newly hatched painted lady butterfly caterpillars. These folks will ship butterflies to surrounding states just check their website to see if there are any restrictions for your area.

While we were at the butterfly farm we also learned that the University of Florida had a huge butterfly exhibit. Of course we had to visit! It was very much worth the drive. They had a bountiful array of dried and mounted moths and butterflies from around the world as well as a huge screened in live butterfly exhibit featuring some butterflies we would probably never have been fortunate enough to see otherwise, such as the blue morpho and the owl butterfly.

I think the highlight of the Butterfly Exhibit was actually the hatching center where there were rows of chrysalises with several breaking open to reveal new butterflies drying their wings. It was a perfect precurser to the metamorphosis of the painted lady caterpillars that we had just brought home a couple of days prior.

This unit study was fun for the whole family!

This front cover show a collage of pictures that we took at the University of Florida Butterfly Exhibit.

Inside show the anatomy of a butterfly and the anatomy of the butterfly proboscis from here. The butterfly cards pocket contains the pictures and names of butterflies from Homeschool Share. The right flap shows a pocket with butterfly anatomy quiz cards – each butterfly has a different part of anatomy colored in and the back shows the name of the part. The flap book show the different butterfly habitats and what makes each unique.

The second side of the folder shows a lifecycle wheel of the butterfly from egg to adult, predators of a butterfly, butterfly defense mechanism, a visual demonstration of how many eggs are likely to survive per 100 layed, picture of monarch butterfly emerging from chrysalis, and a pocket containing the metamorphosis stages of a butterfly. The right flap contains a flower book with different plants that butterflies use as nectar plants.

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One Response

  1. This is really neat! I look forward to using your ideas in the future. Thank-you.

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