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how2INSECTS: Featured Activity

Create a symmetrical butterfly or moth using white or brown coffee cone-shaped filters and color markers.

  • Cover your workspace with newspaper.
  • Using water-soluble colored markers, have your class draw a colorful design or picture on the closed filter. Use more neutral colors for moths, such as brown, black, yellow and orange.
  • Saturate an absorbent paper towel with water then squeeze the water onto the filters, allowing the colors to spread and mix thoroughly. Be sure to tell the kids to leave the fliters on the newspaper.
  • Once the colors have mixed, carefully blot the filters to soak up excess water.
  • Carefully, tear open the filters along the seam. They should open fairly easy, otherwise use a scissor.
  • Allow the filters to dry. The colors on the dried filters will be less vibrant but most importantly SYMMETRICAL!
  • Once the filters have completely dried you can further your students' understanding of symmetry by applying googly eye eyespots. Ask your student where he/she wants to place the first eyespot and where to place a second eyespot to make it symmetrical.


Atlas Moth (left) and Luna Moth (right) 

how2 lllustrate Your Science Stories With Insect-Related Activities

  • Take your class on a nature adventure, identifying the various insects you find;
  • Locate an anthill and watch the industrious little ants move sand or food particles;
  • Collect insect specimens (dead moths or flies) and examine these using a magnifying lens or nature viewers;
  • Obtain a variety of picture and easy-reader books on insects, butterflies and moths from the library for a center;
  • Use an insect picture book during circle time, choose a picture for each child and have each tell a story or a sentence or two about what they see in the picture;
  • Collect a variety of anatomically correct plastic insects. Examine the differences and similarities-count the number of legs, identify the three body segments, and distinguish between antennae and legs.
  • Explore camouflage by hiding your collection of plastic insects in plain sight in various locations (habitats) around your classroom;
  • Purchase a butterfly kit that allows your class to watch the emergence of the butterfly from its chrysalis;
  • Act out the various stages of butterfly metamorphosis, from a crawling caterpillar to a winged butterfly, through movement;
  • Create a symmetrical ladybug or butterfly using a ladybug or butterfly template and pre-cut geometric shapes;
  • Sequence butterfly or ladybug lifecycle stages of development;
  • Compare incomplete and complete metamorphosis;
  • Create a lifecycle picture using various sized and shaped pasta;
  • Build-an-insect using various materials (clay, pipe cleaners, and wiggle eyes);
  • Play Cootie and create your own insect;
  • Design a sort and match game using pairs of butterfly pictures (half the pictures can be in color; and, the "match" is in black and white); and,
  • Use insect stickers and pictures for math counting exercises.




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