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Impact II: Projects & Lesson Plans: Symmetrical Butterfly Project
Symmetrical Butterfly Project

HOW IT WORKS
Symmetrical Butterfly Project involves hands-on and research activities, and takes approximately four to six weeks depending on grade level and ability. Students learn about the characteristics and life cycle of the butterfly, do research on different species, and present what they learn. They are introduced to the subject through an interactive KWL process of documenting what they already know about butterflies and writing questions on Post-its that are sorted by category and turned into a chart that remains up throughout the entire project as a resource. Read-alouds and shared readings feature nonfiction books that are accessible during independent reading time. Students are also introduced to note-taking in their research journals. Based on the categories identified when charting questions, they take notes on life cycle, habitat, food, survival, enemies, and environment of the butterfly. Toward the end of the week, a live butterfly kit is set up and monitored until the butterflies hatch. The children make daily observations on the changes that occur.

During the next week, the children use technology as a research tool. They are divided into groups and taught how to search the Internet and use a Butterflies of the World CD-ROM program. A class trip to the American Museum of Natural History’s butterfly exhibit and a viewing of a videotape about butterflies is done during this phase. Children choose a specific type of butterfly and learn as much as they can about it. They use the information for a written report and an oral presentation.

The final week results in a class book created by the children of their own original butterfly designs. The children are introduced to the KidPix Deluxe program where they draw and design their butterflies using a process that helps them understand symmetry in design. The entire project results in two products that can be used to assess the children’s learning. This research model can be used to study and report on any animal. 

THE STUDENTS
This program was first implemented with a group of 20 first graders with basic computer knowledge and experience with the Internet and KidPix program. It can be adapted for grades K through 2 and for smaller or larger groups and children of all achievement levels.

THE STAFF
Veronica A. Barkley has taught second grade for the past six years. She currently teaches in a general education classroom at P.S. 198 in Manhattan’s District 2. Veronica was a recipient of two District 3 Teacher Incentive Grants.

WHAT YOU NEED
You will need at least one computer with Internet access and CD-ROM drive. You will also need access to a TV and VCR; a live butterfly kit (from Insect Lore); and a CD-ROM, videotape, and books about butterflies.  

OVERALL VALUE
Symmetrical Butterfly Project provides opportunity for primary grade students to become scientists researching a fascinating topic. It promotes literacy in language arts, science, and technology, and incorporates activities and experiences that appeal to all learners. This program can be adjusted by time and length to meet curriculum and scheduling constraints. Parts can be omitted or extended and the program can be adapted to study any species. 

 

View the Curriculum Unit/Dissemination Packet

CURRICULUM AREAS
Science
Language Arts
Technology

GRADES
K-2

MORE INFORMATION

Veronica Barkley
P.S. 198
1700 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10128
VHteach@aol.com

Principal
Beverly A. Wilkins

IMPACT II 
Catalog 2003-2004

 

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