Life Cycle of Frogs, Dragonflies and Butterflies

This activity introduces metamorphosis.


In this lesson, students who are blind or visually impaired learn the concept of metamorphosis in an organism’s life cycle by studying the growth and development of butterflies, frogs, and dragonflies.




Most of the activities detailed in this lesson plan can be done with visually impaired students if teachers adapt them using Resources for Teaching and Adapting Lessons for Students with Visual Impairments. Students should have access to tactile models and overlays of the different stages in the life cycle of frogs, dragonflies and butterflies before viewing the Metamorphosis: Change of Plans video. The Life Stages cards can be used in the sequencing activity if Braille labels are added.

Suggested time

3 one-hour sessions and if possible, a field trip to a butterfly farm


Lesson One Procedure

  1. Read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar and have students explore the tactile models of the developmental stages of a butterfly: egg, pupa, caterpillar and butterfly.
  2. Ask students: Where did the egg come from? What changes did the caterpillar go through on its way to becoming a butterfly?
  3. Provide time for students to explore the overlays and models and discuss each stage of a butterfly’s life cycle.
  4. Provide a braille and large print copy of the butterfly life cycle to each student.
  5. If possible, allow students to handle real pupas, caterpillars and butterflies or take them to a butterfly farm.
  6. Discuss the different textures and feel of an egg, pupa, caterpillar and butterfly.

Lesson Two Procedure

  1. Explain to the students that they will be creating a 3D model of the life cycle.
  2. Have students choose which material should be used to represent each stage of the life cycle of the butterfly.
  3. Have students assemble each model of the four stages on the tri-wall circle in the sequence of the developing butterfly.
  4. Attach braille/print labels to each stage.
  5. Use pipe cleaner or Wikki Stix as arrows to indicate the direction of the cycle.
  6. Discuss how the life cycle repeats itself and what is needed to thrive and survive at each stage.

Lesson Three Procedure

  1. Tell students that they are going to watch a video showing the changes that happen to several different organisms over the course of their life cycles. They will see a tadpole develop into a frog, a nymph develop into a dragonfly, and a caterpillar develop into a butterfly.
  2. Ask students to explore tactile models and overlays of the life cycle of a butterfly frog and a dragonfly.
  3. Watch the Metamorphosis: Change of Plans video (use the alternate version with audio description). Ask students: What are the similarities and differences in the life cycles of butterflies, dragonflies and frogs?
  4. Break the class into three groups: frogs, dragonflies and butterflies. Watch the Metamorphosis: Change of Plans video (again, use the alternate version with audio description) one more time and ask each group to listen for answers to the following questions about their animal: How long do the changes take? Where do the babies live? Where do the adults live? Do the babies eat different things than the adults?
  5. Hand out Life Stages cards with braille labels and ask students to put them in the right order.
  6. Ask students: How does metamorphosis helps these animals grow up? What is the difference between how humans grow up and how a caterpillar grows up.

NGSS Standards:

LS1.A: Structure and Function


metamorphosis collage

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