Lesson Plan

Butterfly Life Cycle

Using mind maps to create a butterfly life cycle
Julia W.
Classroom teacher
South Primary, Blair, Nebraska
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My Grades 1
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

1.  Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of a butterflies life cycle.

2.  Students will be able to create a mind map using Kidspiration on their individual iPads.


Grades 1
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

To begin the lesson, I will display the TeacherTube video "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" on the smart board.  The animated video will serve as an introduction to a butterflies life cycle.

2 Direct Instruction

Following the video, students will be able to use their individual iPads (this is a 1:1 iPad classroom) to scan a QR code off the smart board.  They will be linked to "The Butterfly Life Cycle" by National Geographic where they will be able to view pictures and information on a Monarch Butterflies life cycle.

Since the reading information is above a first grade level, the teacher will also access the page and display it on the smart board.  The teacher will read each paragraph from each stage of the life cycle and allow discussion.  The following questions will be asked and answered in the whole group setting.

  • How does this remind you of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"?
  • What are the four main stages of the life cycle?
  • What happens after the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis?
  • Why do they call it a chrysalis and not a cocoon?

Students will be encouraged to flip over to their notes app and take any notes that they wish.  The teacher will be doing the same to demonstrate this for the students. 

3 Guided Practice

Students will then access their Kidspiration app on their individual iPads, as the teacher opens Kidspiration and projects it onto the smart board.  (Students will have created mind maps prior to this lesson using Kidspiration, however, they will have never used it to show the steps of a life cycle.)

The teacher will walk the students through each step of:

  • Selecting "Science"
  • Creating a "Cycle Diagram"
  • Since there are five steps included in the cycle diagram, the teacher will demonstrate how to delete one link to take it down to the four steps needed for the project.
  • The teacher will begin the first two steps by showing the students how to load an appropriate clip art and label.  (In this case they will be showing the egg and caterpillar stages.)
  • The teacher will also demonstrate how students may record their own voice and discuss what is happening at each stage of the life cycle in their own words.

4 Independent Practice

Students will continue to work on their Kidspiration mind maps individually.  They will add in the final two steps of the life cycle (chrysalis and butterfly) and will add a voice-over to each stage of their life cycle. 

Students may access the National Geographic website from earlier to add more details to their mind map. 

High ability learners will be encouraged to add text to their mind map with details in addition to the voice over. 

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Presenting

To finish the lesson, the teacher will pick one student to present their finished mind map on the smart board.  The student may talk about the different stages of the life cycle in addition to playing the audio that they added to their mind map.

After the class has viewed one together, they will divide into partners and pair-share their own individual maps. 

6 Extension

For an extension activity, students may view the YouTube video "Learn All About a Frog Life Cycle" and take notes as they did with the butterfly life cycle. 

If time allows, they may begin creating another Kidspiration mind map that shows the stages of a frog life cycle.