Butterfly life cycle

Butterflies part 2: Butterfly life cycle

Accessible butterfly life cycle science and tech activities and concept building with tactile graphics.

The goal of these butterfly series is to help TSVIs support lessons that are being taught in the classroom. A student who is blind or low vision often learns the facts taught in the lesson and can repeat word-for-word the details, but did the student build real concepts and is the student able to expand on and apply what was learned? Even if the student can describe with words the animal/object (in this case the butterflies’ life cycles) and can the student recognize the real or tactile images of these real objects?

The Concept Development Through Tactile Graphics: Duck Example post discussed the issue of students who struggle understanding the terminology used in descriptions or incorrectly applying knowledge. In this post, three students could repeat the verbal description of a duck but were unable to recognize distinguishing characteristics of a duck and had misconceptions about ducks. These students thought that since ducks can swim, they must have gills and fins.

Let’s review the progression of how to introduce tactile graphics introduced in the Building Concept Development post:

Real Objects > Models of Real Objects > Tactile Graphics Representing Real Objects or Symbols (including braille or print words) Representing Real Objects > 2D/Raised Line Outline. Students should also create their own tactile graphics using various mediums.

If possible, start by introducing models of real objects before moving to raised line outlines.

The butterflies part 1: Caterpillars post used tactile graphic images of a caterpillar as they learned about caterpillars. This post will continue to the lesson by expanding to cover the butterfly life cycle. Remember the caterpillar poems in the first post which introduce the butterfly life cycle? Pair The Fuzzy Littler Caterpillar Poem with the related tactile images. The images below can be printed and used with a tactile graphics machine or can be used as a template for educators to create hand-made tactile graphics.

Image1: Butterfly eggs

Outline image of a leaf with 5 overlapping butterfly eggs.

Download leaf with butterfly eggs image here.

The caterpillar is the larva stage of development, occurring after hatching and before the adult form (butterfly) is reached.

Image 2: Detailed caterpillar image

Caterpillar with details.

Download the detailed caterpillar image here.

A chrysalis is the form a caterpillar takes before it emerges from its cocoon as a fully formed moth or butterfly. The chrysalis has a hard skin that protects the caterpillar; the chrysalis hangs from a branch or twig. When inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar/butterfly is called a pupa.

Image 2: Chrysalis

A chrysalis sack hanging from a forked branch.

Download the chrysalis image here.

Image 4: Simple butterfly

Simple outline image of a butterfly.

Download the simple butterfly image here.

Image 5: Detailed butterfly

Detailed outline image of a butterfly with circles and designs on the wings.

Download the detailed butterfly image here.

Butterfly life cycle activities

Use smaller versions of the tactile graphics above or use the butterfly life cycle image here, which has four similar images on one page. Using slightly different images helps the student to identify the distinguishing characteristics and apply this knowledge to a slightly different tactile graphic.

Sequencing activity

Using the tactile butterfly life cycle images, place the tactile graphics in order in the circular life cycle layout. Add braille labels. Now move the images in a list format. Provide students with a digital copy of the images – make sure that the images are labeled! Within a word document, ask students to copy and paste the images in order in a list format.

Butterfly life cycle crafts

Part of the tactile graphic rich environment goal is for students to be given opportunities to create their own tactile graphics.

Create a butterfly life cycle image using pasta.

Image: Pasta butterfly life cycle with print labels.

Butterfly life cycle made out of pasta on a paper plate.

Create an edible butterfly life cycle using snack food.

Place on a white paper plate and use braille labels.

Editable butterfly life cycle with marshmallows, gummy worms, grapes and butterfly-shaped crackers.

Slide presentation

Create a slide presentation of the butterfly life cycle. Use the digital images from the previous activity or take pictures of the pasta images and embed these images into the slide presentation. For older students, create a slide for each stage and add at least 2 pieces of information about that stage.

The picture is a student’s drawing of a butterfly with a written list of butterfly information:

Butterfly image with a list of information about butterflies.

Note taking or screen reader speed activities

The first post included reading a paragraph about caterpillars. This paragraph was used to practice note taking or to work on increasing the student’s screen reader listening speed. Students learn best by repeating activities, so here is a paragraph about the butterfly life cycle that can be used to practice note taking or increasing screen reader speed!

A butterfly lays eggs on the leaves of a plant. These eggs hatch and young ones called larvae or caterpillars come out of the eggs. The caterpillar starts feeding on the leaves and starts to grow. It sheds its skin several times so that it can grow. Once the caterpillar is big enough, it stops eating. It then forms a protective layer around itself. This stage is called chrysalis or pupa. The caterpillar remains motionless in the cocoon for about 10-15 days. Inside the cocoon, the caterpillar undergoes a series of changes. After about 15 days, a beautiful adult butterfly emerges out of the cocoon. These series of changes in the life cycle of a butterfly is called metamorphosis.

Additional thought

Maybe you are working with an older student who has already learned about the butterfly life cycle, but who is reading a book in class about butterflies. Add a tactile image of a butterfly to the book!

Note: Images and ideas were found online – authors are unknown.


By Diane Brauner

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