Butterfly Life Cycle in Pictures

In our classroom, my firsties and I had a great time witnessing the metamorphosis of our Brassica caterpillars. I am delighted with the way this unit turned out. I used to order the Painted Lady larva, but it was hard for my kiddos to truly understand that caterpillars eat leaves because they came with that brown sludge in the cup instead, plus we never saw the egg part of the life cycle at all. This year I decided to cross my fingers and buy butterfly eggs from Carolina Biological instead. It was actually the same price ($14.99) to buy the eggs as it would be to buy caterpillar larva from another site. In addition, we had over 9 caterpillars hatch, and as of Friday afternoon, we had 9 butterflies compared to the 5 or 6 caterpillars I'd gotten in the past from other sites. I'm definitely doing this again next year!

Here's our Life Cycle in pictures:

When the caterpillars first hatched, they were so small we couldn't see them! We found evidence that they were around though! It wasn't until they were about 3 weeks old that we were able to pick them out with the naked eye:

Although not as colorful as the Painted Lady butterflies, the Brassica butterflies do have striking markings. My firsties loved their eye spots and quickly realized that they would make predators think twice about sneaking up on them!
We released the butterflies at the end of our Life Cycle unit! If you'd like to see the observation journals, labeling sheets and emergent readers that we used in our Butterfly Life Cycle unit, please check them out here.

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