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Water is in a constant cycle of changing from a liquid to a vapor and back again. This process repeats itself continuously and is known as the water cycle.

When it rains, rainwater runs down storm drains or into rivers, streams, lakes, or falls into the oceans. On land, puddles form on sidewalks or on the ground. Some of the water evaporates, while some of it soaks into the ground.

Even the water that is in the ground may eventually evaporate as plants take up water and lose some of it through their leaves (transpiration).


How To Develop Your Water Cycle Science Story

Use the inquiry-based content development process to develop content.

In the process of asking questions and filling-in the blanks you will develop your science story.

 What is the water cycle?  Why is the water cycle important?  What if we didn't have a water cycle?  What if we didn't have any water?  What is water? Why is water important?  How does water change during the water cycle?  What are the processes associated with the water cycle?  How can we describe what happens in the water cycle?  What is evaporation?  Is evaporation the same every time?  What factors can affect evaporation?  What is symmetry?  How does the butterfly's wing pattern aid in its survival?  What is adaptation?  What are eyespots?  What is the purpose of eyespots?  Are eyespots unique to butterflies?  Where do you see butterflies?  What does a butterfly drink?
 How are butterflies and caterpillars related?  How are moths and butterflies related?  How can we compare them?  How are they the same or different in terms of appearance, behavior and lifecycle changes (cocoon vs. chrysalis)?  Where do butterflies come from?  What is a butterfly's lifecycle?  What is a lifecycle?  What is metamorphosis?  How does a butterfly change as it develops?  Are spiders insects?  Why aren't spiders insects?  How are spiders and insects related?  Do insects have five senses?  How are they the same or different than our senses?


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Developing Science Stories


About Butterflies & Moths...Same, But Different.

Appearance. Moths have squatter (bulkier), fuzzier bodies. A butterfly’s body is slender. Butterflies have bulbs (swellings) at the ends of their antennae. Moth antennae are feathery. Moths tend to be brown, beige and black in color; while butterflies are generally more colorful.

Behavior. Butterflies rest with their wings closed; while moths rest with their wings open. Moths tend to be more active in the early evening; while butterflies are active during the day.

How Do Butterflies Develop... Butterflies go through four (4) stages of life: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Their appearance differs significantly during these various stages of development. Metamorphosis is similar between butterflies and moths, except that butterflies form a chrysalis while moths form a cocoon. Note: Most children have read The Hungry Caterpillar. Be sure to note that real caterpillars do not eat people food. They eat leaves, and generally a very specific type of leaf.

  • An adult female butterfly lays eggs.

  • The egg hatches into a caterpillar (larva). The larva goes through several growth stages, eating throughout, growing larger and shedding its skin over several weeks.

  • The caterpillar then forms into the chrysalis (KRIS-uh-liss) or pupa. In as little as two weeks the pupa can emerge, or it may remain dormant for weeks, months, and even years.

  • Inside the chrysalis… During this stage nearly all of the caterpillar breaks down and forms a liquid. A small number of cells that have remained dormant (undeveloped) in the caterpillar now become active and form the butterfly.

  • The chrysalis matures and a butterfly emerges.

Is metamorphosis unique to butterflies? No, all other insects undergo some type of metamorphosis. There are two types of metamorphosis: complete and incomplete. Complete metamorphosis refers to a process where the organisms appearance is distinct during its larval, pupal, and adult stages. With incomplete metamorphosis the insect always resembles the adult throughout its development, but grows larger with successive molts.

Context & Connections

A study of insects in association with an exploration butterflies provides relevant content and context. Butterflies are insects. As such they have certain features that defines insects as insects: an exoskeleton, three body segments and six legs. In establishing the connection between butterflies and insects, future explorations of other types of insects, such as bees, provides children with both a reference point and the license to apply what they have already learned.  


Bees are insects. They also have six legs and three body sections. Like butterflies, and many other insects, bees are important pollinators and help make flowers grow.


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Wing Pattern: Symmetry and Design

You can find a line of symmetry (bilateral symmetry) by drawing an imaginary line down the center of the butterfly. The left and right halves form mirror images.

Symmetry Activity

Insects, in general, display this type of symmetrical body plan and wing pattern design. The spots on a ladybug’s wings are symmetrical. Interestingly, a ladybug can have an odd number of spots. The “odd” spot actually spans both wings, with half of the odd-numbered spot located on each wing. This becomes obvious when the ladybug spreads its wings.


What is...

Evaporation is the process by which the sun's heat changes some of the water into water vapor. This can happen on land or across the surface of oceans, rivers, lakes and puddles.

Condensation. As the water vapor rises into the sky, it condenses back into water when it comes into contact with the cold atmosphere. It then joins other water droplets to form clouds.

Precipitation. When the water droplets are heavy enough they fall back to the Earth as rain, snow, ice, or hail, depending on the temperature. If the air is cold, the drops of water will fall stay frozen as they fall to Earth and come down as snow, hail or sleet; otherwise, they melt as they fall and come down as rain.

Adapting to Survive: Wing Pattern and Coloration.

The pattern on a butterfly’s wings is a type of adaptation that also aids in its survival. Some butterfly wing patterns are designed for camouflage, allowing it to blend into its surroundings. Some butterflies do not try to blend in. Similar to a poison dart frog’s warning coloration, the butterfly’s wing pattern may serve to warn off enemies.


Mimicry. Monarch and Viceroy butterflies have very similar wings patterns. Birds tend to avoid Monarchs because they taste terrible. Because the Viceroy bears a resemblance to the Monarch, birds also tend to avoid it as well. This form of mimicry is an advantageous adaptation that aids in the Viceroy’s ability to survive.

Bug bingo anyone...

Make your own cards, with or without other arthropods!


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