Saturday, April 12, 2014

Butterflies: Up Close and Personal (another Bright Idea)

I love, love, love spring.  Why?  Because I get to raise butterflies with my students.  This is my favorite activity all year long and I have a Bright Idea for taking it up a notch and letting my students get up close and personal with the butterflies.

First, you need to order your butterflies.  I just order mine online.  The caterpillars are super easy to work with and actually are pretty hardy.  Even so....I always order a classroom set.  I do this for two reasons....first, I like every student to get a hands on experience, and second, I am still nervous they all won't survive.

Then you watch, wait, and learn. 

When the cocoons hatch....then the fun begins!!  Once the butterflies emerge I set up a screen porch tent.  The tent I use has no floor (so the butterflies can hide in the grass).  I set it up under a tree in our outdoor education area.  Any "quiet" spot in a grassy area would work.

Inside the tent I put some flowering baskets at different heights.  I slice oranges on a paper plate to feed the butterflies.

My students are so very careful.  Even the most rough and tumble kid watches where he steps and is ever so gentle.  My tent is small, so only a couple of students at a time get to go in.  My daughter comes and takes pictures for me (that lets me focus on the rest of the class while the students in the tent have a wonderful experience with the butterflies.  Plus, my daughter is a great photographer and the pictures are outstanding!!).

My kinders are timid and some require coaxing and help to get the butterflies to crawl onto their hands.  My 2nd and 3rd graders liked trying to see how many butterflies they could get on their faces.  The joy and reactions is the highlight of my year.

By taking the time to observe carefully and closely they learn so much about insects.

They see the proboscis and watch it work.

They experience the sticky feet of a butterfly as it clings to their finger and proceeds to hang upside down.
They learn how to take care of things in the wild. 
Getting up close and personal with the butterflies is an experience they never forget.  If you would like to see more of what we do consider joining me on facebook and at my TpT store.

For more Bright Ideas from 150 different bloggers, please browse through the linky below.  Choose a topic or grade level that interests you.  Thanks for visiting!


  1. I just love this post, Terri! THIS is what your kids will remember forever. Thank you so much for sharing it. I smiled all the way through it as I was reading!
    Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together

  2. What a wonderful idea to set up a screen tent! We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our caterpillars and this would be such a fun way to share our butterflies with the whole school!

    1. Our whole school does come out to see....and many will let their students take turns in the tent. They have already been asking if I am going to do butterflies again this year.

  3. This is awesome!!! What a wonderful experience for your students! I am always so nervous when it is time to set our butterflies free but I can see how well you have taught your kids to handle them with care. I might have to try to mooch a tent like that off of someone I know this year!

    K Teacher Tiff

  4. Love, love, love this! The looks on their faces say it all!
    Conversations in Literacy

  5. Such a cool idea! Where did you get the tent?

    1. I bought my tent several years ago from Nasco Science supplies (I saw it in their catalog). The one they have now is sightly different ( ). I think you can find less expensive ones when you google screen tent. I am debating about slightly larger tent (so I was looking around just yesterday), but my pop up is so easy I can do it by myself. Good Luck!! I hope you find a tent you like to try.

  6. I have raised butterflies for several years now but never thought to release them the way you did. Such an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing. I am totally doing this next year:)
    The Schroeder Page

  7. WOW! I love the idea of the tent!
    Last year, we simply let them fly away and didn't get to experience touching them. I think I'm going to find myself a tent and try this! Thank you so much for your bright idea!
    All Students Can SHINE

  8. Such amazing pics! Awesome Bright Ideas blog post - I just scheduled about a million pins with all of your awesome pics!
    FlapJack Educational Resources

  9. THIS is by far the most stunning blog post I have ever read! EVER! Ev-uh! What a memory you have made with your students!!!

  10. Hi Terri,
    How fun for all your kids, you created their very own butterfly farm. An experience I am sure they will never forget!
    The Picture Book Teacher's Edition

  11. Really awesome idea. I love it.
    Your Daughter is really a good Photographer, Beautiful Photos and nice exposing.
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