Cartoon caterpillar on a half eaten leaf reading a book.
Activity

Butterflies part 1: Caterpillars

Munch on these caterpillar concepts!

Munch, munch, munch! Caterpillars are hungry! The first post in this series will begin with learning more about caterpillars. While many activities begin on the kindergarten level, these fun activities, facts and concepts can be expanded for all elementary grades. The activities include basic science activities and can be used to practice tech skills.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar book

Everyone loves the Eric Carle’s classic book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and every kindergarten classroom has a spring lesson(s) centered around this popular book! This book incorporates counting, days of the week, food and a butterfly’s life cycle.

Before reading the book, build caterpillar concepts by describing a caterpillar and exploring a tactile image.

A simple description of a caterpillar: A caterpillar is a fuzzy, worm-like insect that transforms into a butterfly or moth. Many caterpillars are striped and colorful.

Outline drawing of the caterpillar character in The Very Hungry Caterpillar book by Eric Carle:

Outline image of the Very Hungry Caterpillar character.

Point out that the body of the caterpillar has segments, the caterpillar has sets of feet at the front and back and that the caterpillar has two antennae.

This caterpillar character can be printed and run through a tactile graphic machine (PIAF or Swell machine) or can be used as a template to create your own tactile graphic using on-hand tactile materials or tactile graphic tool.

Download the The Very Hungry Caterpillar image here.

There are numerous lesson plans about The Very Hungry Caterpillar online, including sequencing activities, crafts, counting and more! Since this is a popular classroom book and activity, we will not dive deeper into these lessons in this post, as this post is designed to support basic caterpillar concepts that students with visual impairments may need additional instruction on and to provide opportunities to practice tech skills.

The Fuzzy Little Caterpillar poem

Non-readers: This poem can be sung to the tune of the Itsy Bitsy Spider and/or a digital copy can be read aloud using a screen reader.

Readers: A digital copy of this poem can be shared with the student to read using a braille display paired with his/her preferred device.

The Fuzzy Little Caterpillar Poem

The fuzzy little caterpillar

Curled up upon a leaf,

Spun her little chrysalis

And then fell fast asleep.

While she was sleeping,

She dreamed that she could fly.

And later when she woke up,

She was a butterfly!

Download The Fuzzy Little Caterpillar poem here.

Want additional caterpillar songs/poems? Try these!

Caterpillar definition and facts

Working on note taking? Read the detailed description below and ask your student to take notes. If your student is learning to take notes, prompt the student ahead of time to find the answers to three questions, such as, “What are the three body parts?” or “How many legs does a caterpillar have?”

If your student is working on listening speed, provide the student with a digital copy of the detailed description. Increase the screen reader speed by 5 and listen to the paragraph. Increase the speed by an additional 5 increments and listen to the paragraph again. Finally, decrease the speed by 5 and listen one last time. Then ask the student questions about the content.

More detailed description of a caterpillars:

Caterpillars are insects, which means they have three body parts (head, thorax and abdomen) and two antennae on their heads. Most caterpillars have six proper legs, like all insects, but can also have up to five pairs of stumpy prolegs with little hooks that help them to hang onto things and to move in a wave-like motion. Caterpillars use the small hooks on their feet to climb plants. Most caterpillars are herbivores, which means they eat plants. Caterpillars eat constantly so that they can grow. Caterpillar grow up and change into butterflies and moths.

Caterpillar 2 image has more details with sets of legs and stumpy prolegs, and small circles in each segment showing his colorful markings.

Caterpillar with details.

Download the Caterpillar 2 image here.

If the Caterpillar 2 image is too busy for your student, try the Caterpillar 1 image that shows multiple legs (does not distinguish between legs and prolegs) and some markings.

Simple caterpillar image

Download the Caterpillar 1 image here. Note: Print this caterpillar in black and white, as the original image is brown and white.

Did you know?

For students who are reading and writing: Are you curious about one of these facts? Ask your student to choose an interesting fact and research to learn more about it. Why does a caterpillar have 12 eyes? How does a caterpillar produce silk? If these facts are not intriguing to the student, have the student find three more facts about caterpillars. Create a class slide deck and have each student add a slide to share what they discovered.

Resources

By Diane Brauner

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