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  • Writer's pictureLJVMS

Caterpillar to Butterfly Week

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

  • Connect the number worksheet (page 1)

  • Chrysalis coloring sheet (page 2)

  • Color by number worksheet (page 3)

  • m is for Monarch coloring sheet (page 4)

  • 'C' Caterpillar worksheet (page 5)

  • Tracing worksheet (page 6)

  • Size and Length Workbook (pages 7-26)

  • Days of the Week Workbook (pages 27-36)

  • Pattern Strips Workbook (pages 37-46)

Monday, April 20

Main Lesson: Life cycle of a Butterfly

We all love butterflies for their beautiful, brightly-colored wings. But did you know that these fab flyers begin life as something completely different? As they grow, they undergo one seriously terrific transformation a process known as “metamorphosis “.

Stage 1: THE EGG. It all starts when a female butterfly lays her eggs, usually on leaves or stems of plants. Inside these tiny eggs, caterpillars grow. Depending on the species, the eggs can vary in shape and texture – they can be round, oval or cylindrical, and smooth, bumpy or wrinkled. The time it takes for the eggs to hatch can also vary – in some species, they will hatch within a few weeks and in others they will only hatch once the weather is warm enough.

Stage 2: THE CATERPILLAR. Once ready, the caterpillar leaves its egg home and enters the big outside world! And these little critters have one serious appetite – they actually eat their way out of the egg and immediately start chomping on the leaves of the host plant. During this stage, they shed their skin four or five times – as the caterpillar grows, its skin becomes too tight and splits open, revealing a new, larger skin underneath. A fully grown caterpillar can be over 100 times larger than when it emerged from its egg.

Stage 3: THE PUPA. Once fully grown, the caterpillar forms itself into a “pupa” (or chrysalis) a kind of vessel in which the caterpillar changes into a butterfly. They usually do this on twigs or safe, hidden areas around the host plant. The “pupa” stage may last a few weeks to several months depending on the species. During this time, a hardened case forms around the pupa to protect it from predators and extreme weather conditions. And inside, the tissue, limbs and organs of the caterpillar transform. The result? A wonderful winged butterfly!

Stage 4: THE BUTTERFLY. Once the butterfly is ready to emerge, the case around the pupa splits open. But it’s not time for takeoff just yet, as the wings are at first wet, soft and wrinkled against its body. The butterfly waits for its wings to dry, and pumps a liquid called hemolymph into them so that they become big and strong. Once fit for flight, this brilliant bug then takes to the air in search for flowers to feed on and for other butterflies to mate with. And that’s the cycle complete – and ready to start all over again!

Book Ideas:

From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by Bari Weissman

Art Project Ideas:

Tuesday, April 21

Main Lesson: Meet our Monarch Caterpillars

The monarch caterpillar is banded with yellow, black, and white stripes. The head is also striped with yellow and black. There are four black body extensions two on each end of the body. They look similar to antennae; the caterpillar will be as long as 5 centimeters (2 inches). The caterpillar eats the leaves and flowers of the food plant. It makes no nests or shelters. It grows very quickly, and because of this, it molts four to five times.

Book Ideas: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Art Project Ideas:

Wednesday, April 22

Main Lesson: What do caterpillars eat?

Caterpillars are a common sight during the warmer months. Whether they’re stripy, spotty or spiky, chances are you will have seen at least one crawling along plants and vegetation in search of a bite to eat. But have you ever wondered what these furry little insects actually eat? Their diets vary depending on species.

Milkweeds are the host plants to Monarch butterflies and the only plant on which they will lay eggs to continue their life cycle.

Book Ideas: Pete the Cat and the Cool Caterpillar by James Dean

Monarch caterpillars eating and growing:

Art Project Ideas:

Thursday, April 23

Main Lesson: What is it like to be in a chrysalis?

Inside the Butterfly Chrysalis

The change inside the chrysalis is slow and gradual. The caterpillar’s body digests itself from the inside out. The caterpillar is attacked by the same sort of juices that it used in its earlier life to digest food. Many of the organs are hidden in the caterpillar and they take a new form within the chrysalis. The old body is broken down into imaginal cells but not all the tissues are destroyed. Some old tissues pass onto the insect's new body. One imaginal disk will become a wing and there are imaginal disks that form the legs, antennae and the other organs of the butterfly.

Book Ideas: The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach

Metamorphosis: Caterpillar to Butterfly for Children Video:

Art Project Ideas:

Friday, April 24

Main Lesson: Monarch Metamorphosis: The Final Chapter

10-14 days after your monarch forms a chrysalis it will become transparent, revealing the magnificent butterfly inside. Once it’s completely transparent, you know it will emerge that day. Seconds after the butterfly emerges it will look nothing like the majestic monarchs you’ve seen fluttering through your garden. Its wings will be small and crumpled, and its abdomen will be plump and filled with fluids.

After hatching the butterfly has to wait for its wings to dry out and become fully extended before it can fly away in search of nectar. Although the adult butterfly does not do any more growing, it still has to feed in order to acquire energy. Unlike the caterpillars, which feed only on milkweeds, the adult monarchs feed on a variety of nectar-producing plants.

Book Idea: Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom DeLuise

Art Project Idea:

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