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Public Education Educator Resources Animal Life Cycle Butterfly

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to identify differences between the life cycles of various animals.


Grade Levels



Next Generation Science Standard

LS1-1. Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.


Materials Needed

Picture of brown bear and emu

Life cycle of bluebird

Blank life cycle sheet

Parts of butterfly’s life cycle




  • Begin the lesson by comparing and contrasting two different types of animals: a brown bear and an emu.
  • Display pictures of these animals and ask students to describe differences between the animals.
  • Tell the students that they will be learning more about representing, describing, and writing about the life cycles of various animals.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling

  • Show students the image of the life cycle of a bluebird.
  • Point out the parts of the life cycle and the connection they have to one another.
  • Give students a blank life cycle and the parts of a butterfly’s life cycle.
  • Have them arrange the life cycle in the correct order and glue them down.

(The life cycle of a butterfly should be familiar to them from previous years’ instruction If not, take some time review it and offer additional support).
Independent Working Time

  • Discuss that the life cycle of a butterfly is different than a dog because dogs are mammals.
  • Review details about mammals (lessons on mammals should be done before this lesson). Mammals are animals that have fur or hair. They give birth to live young instead of laying an egg. Mammal mothers nurse their young with milk. Mammals are warm-blooded. All mammals have lungs and breathe air.
  • Have students work together to research information about dogs. They should focus on how they grow, what makes them live healthy lives, and their life expectancy. This research can be done here: Dog Research
  • Put the students in small groups and have students complete a life cycle graphic of a dog using the information they found during their research.

Review and Closing

  • To complete the lesson, give each group a chance to share their graphic with the rest of the class.
  • After each group presents, ask the class to describe how that particular animal changes through the course of its life cycle.


American Kennel Club. (n.d.) Retrieved from