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Photo by Kathy Servian via Unsplash

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Expository Writing


K, 1st, 2nd


Science, English Language Arts


50 minutes

Regional Focus

North America


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Butterfly Life Cycle Stages

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Mar 2, 2024
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This lesson introduces the effects of climate change on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly in North America.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students learn the Butterfly Rhyme and act it out with visuals.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students play a card game to learn about the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and the effects of climate change on this insect.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students decorate the Butterfly Rhyme with illustrations that show the stages of the life cycle and write about how we can help butterflies.
Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson creates a collaborative learning environment for students to explore the plight of the monarch butterfly through games.

  • This lesson features multiple learning modalities - visual, auditory, and kinesthetic to support a wide variety of young learners.

  • This lesson highlights Social Justice standards of action, diversity, and justice.

  • This lesson supports the understanding that all humans can make a difference.

  • Students will develop a strong connection to self and others as they explore the plight of the monarch butterfly through play.

  • Students will have an opportunity to share what they learned with members of their household via their illustrations and writing.

  • This lesson features excellent vocabulary development.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teacher should review the informational article, Endangered Monarch Butterfliesregarding the monarch butterfly.

  • Teacher should print out the Rhyme Cards and the Card Game Pieces prior to teaching the lesson.

  • Teacher should print the Student Documents and Vocabulary Cards in advance if not using digital copies.


  • Several versions of the writing task are provided in the Student Document to accommodate different levels of writers in your classroom.

  • Use the word wall and/or vocabulary cards to scaffold writing.

  • This lesson can take place in an outdoor area or in the classroom.

  • Teacher can request free milkweed plants or free seeds to create a school pollinator garden. Many local garden centers will happily donate last year’s seeds or a few plants to support your efforts.

  • To extend the learning, contact a local master gardener or other experts to speak to students.

Scientist Notes

This lesson discusses the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and how it is impacted by climate change. It is insightful for students to understand these changes, the extent of threats, and what they can do to protect the butterflies from extinction. The lesson is recommended for teaching.


Primary Standards

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • K-ESS3-3 Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.2 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.

Supporting Standards

  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Operations & Algebraic Thinking (K-5)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.OA.A.1 Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.OA.A.1 Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.
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