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Araceli Solis

Butterflies Unit

 

 Unit Overview

            The purpose of this two-week unit is to educate students about butterflies.  The unit is designed to teach children not only about butterflies, but also about their habitats, their environments, their migration patterns, what they eat and geography, among other things.  The focus of this unit is for the students to become widely knowledgeable about butterflies and everything that has to do with butterflies.  Students will enjoy this unit and will be encouraged to participate in the learning process through many hands on experiences. Students will learn about butterflies and how many of these different beautiful insects are living right in their gardens at home, the local parks, and even within the school’s community. 

            This unit is designed to be taught to third grade students and will meet the California Standards for this grade level.  This informational, fun, and student-centered unit is designed to last about two weeks.  At the end of the two-week unit the students will have developed a greater understanding about butterflies and the role that they play in the environment.  Students will also understand that it is important to be aware of the different species that coexist in this environment and to protect our mother nature. 

 

Unit Learning Goals

  1. The Learner will identify the life cycle of a butterfly.
  2. The Learner will identify different butterfly species across North America.
  3. The Learner will identify the anatomy of a butterfly.
  4. The Learner will identify the migration patterns of butterflies.
  5. The Learner will identify the eating habits and diet of butterflies.
  6. The Learner will understand the process of metamorphosis as seen through butterflies.

 

Instructional Overview

This unit is taught using a variety of approaches in order to better facilitate the learning and understanding of all students.  Since all students have different learning styles, the unit will be taught in a manner that will enable all children to understand what is being presented to them. To begin, the unit will be taught in a deductive manner where students will simply be presented with information.  I will introduce the unit to the students and guide them along the way until they understand the concept enough to articulate what we are doing for the next two weeks. 

 The unit will begin with many terms and definitions that the students must understand in order to move on to the next lessons.  To make things more comprehensible for the students, I will include many pictures and posters of different butterflies along with proper labels to identify each butterfly.  We will create a list of different butterflies that we can find across North America and begin the unit with this.  As the unit progresses, students will begin to develop their own understanding of butterflies and will have much opportunity to be in control of their own learning.  One of the first lessons covers the life cycle of a butterfly.  Here students have the chance to create their own representation of the life cycle of a butterfly.  The unit will also allow students to build upon past experiences or skills that they may already have.  For example, students are given the opportunity to explore their creativity and artistic talents when reproducing the life cycle of the butterfly. Here, students will be able to use their artistic talents and skills to complete the lesson.  Since I will not create a model for the students to follow, they will be free to use their own imaginations to complete the task.  This will also serve as a means of not creating a specific standard that the students feel they must meet, thus no one will feel that what they come up with is not good enough or wrong.  The purpose of the lesson will be to have the students accurately portray the life cycle of the butterfly in whichever way they choose to do so.

It is at this point that the unit will be taught in a student-centered manner where the role of the teacher will be as a facilitator.  By this time, students will have a greater understanding of butterflies and the different stages that they go through prior to transforming into butterflies.  The lesson plans integrate a number of other content areas such as geography, art and poetry to insure that the students’ interest is maintained.  A number of the lessons will be hands-on to allow students to further expand their learning by recognizing the connections between the environment and butterflies.  In this sense, the unit will be inductive and allow for students to independently explore and discover the several different butterflies, insects and caterpillars that can all be found just in their backyards. 

Overall, my goal as the teacher is to provide little guidance for my students to facilitate the learning and gradually let my students take charge of their own learning and their own thinking.  I will encourage my students to draw their own conclusions about the topic and share their opinions with each other and the class as a whole. By drawing their own conclusions and articulating them, students have the opportunity to build on their social skills and communication skills as well. 

In addition, I will also encourage my students to work cooperatively because they are often better able to learn from each other than they do from simply listening to what the teacher has to say.  Cooperative learning will be an integral part of this unit.  Students will not only have the opportunity to learn about the subject, but will also learn about collaboration and the benefits of working with others to accomplish a given task. 

The lessons are designed to include much group work, but always maintaining a balance to insure that all students participate in the lesson.  While students will work in groups, it will also be necessary for students to complete given assignments individually to insure that everyone is cooperating.  Some students may not have as much an opportunity to participate in groups due to their introverted personalities, while others will probably lead the group as they are natural leaders and usually take charge.  Therefore, it is imperative that all students have the opportunity to participate, whether it is in a group setting or it is on an individual basis. 

During this two-week unit, I will mostly serve as a facilitator for the students.  I will provide my students with the necessary tools to introduce them to the topic and allow them to discover and explore their own ideas.  Discovery learning and exploring the environment and surrounding community will be greatly emphasized.  I will assist my students by always asking many thought provoking questions that will help open up a discussion and get the students directly involved with the topic.  To motivate my students about the topic I will take them on a trip to the local park and have them explore the environment.  This will give students the opportunity to learn about Mother Nature and all the various species that can exist within one environment. Students will enjoy this trip while learning great information about the environment at the same time. 

Lastly, the aim of the unit is to provide students with the opportunity to participate in positive, informational, and fun learning experiences that they may take with them.  Students will not only learn about butterflies, but they will also learn about the environment, Mother Nature, geography, art, collaboration, poetry and many more things.  The unit includes direct instruction, deductive and inductive learning and it is above all student-centered where discovery learning is promoted.  The teacher is simply a facilitator that opens up the topic and introduces the unit. 

 

Assessment Techniques

            While the aim of the unit is to have students discover and explore on their own, it is important for some form of assessment to be implemented to check that students are grasping the general concept of the unit.  Since we will be doing several different activities and lessons, it will be necessary to implement several different assessment methods.  Each lesson or activity will call for a specific assessment method to be used.  I will use informal assessment such as personal communication between the student and I early on in the unit.  I may ask students what they know about butterflies, whether or not they have ever seen a butterfly and other questions that will allow me to understand each student’s level of knowledge prior to beginning the unit.  I will also implement other assessment techniques such as selected response, essays, and performance assessment to account for all learning styles.

            Student’s knowledge will be assessed with a multiple choice and short answer test.  I will test their knowledge through a combination of selected response and short answer questions.  Informal assessment will be used throughout the unit.  I will observe student’s performance when completing a task by walking around the classroom.  I will observe their ability to complete the given task and their affect and disposition while completing the task as well. 

            It is important that I use several different assessment techniques in order to account for all learning styles that the students may have.  It is also important that I assess student’s knowledge prior to beginning the unit to note each student’s basic knowledge on the topic.  This will aid me in keeping track of each student’s progress and whether or not they understand the concept.  Assessing students prior to the unit will help me develop my lessons and make any necessary changes.  It will also serve me as a foundation to build upon and further expand on student’s prior knowledge. 

            When developing a unit it is also important to assess for student’s affect and disposition.  It is imperative that the teacher notes how students feel about the topic that they are learning about.  If students are not really interested in what they are learning, the unit will be dramatically affected and student’s participation will be limited.  By checking for student’s disposition, the teacher again has the opportunity to modify and make the necessary changes to the unit and the lessons to insure the student’s overall participation.  There is nothing worse than trying to teach something to a roomful of uninterested students. 

            Students will also be assessed for knowledge and understanding through group presentations as well as individual presentations.  Students will be able to work as a group to research information about a specific topic related to the overall theme of the unit.  For this part of the assessment, I will check for the delivery of the presentation, the content, and the inclusion of visual aids and related materials.

In addition to the group and individual assessments, I will assess students after the unit is done with a cumulative multiple choice test and a short answer section where they will need to fill in the blanks.   This will give me the opportunity to assess the overall success of the unit.  I will be able to use my collected data prior to the unit and post the unit not only to evaluate student’s performance and understanding, but also to evaluate the effectiveness of my teaching approach and techniques. 

Overall, students will understand that they will be assessed throughout the unit not only through testing, but also through the completion of assignments.  Students will know that it is important that they take pride in what they are doing because the process by which they complete a task is just as important and the end product.  I will stress the importance of focusing on the process by which things are done and without a doubt, I am optimistic that the final product will naturally be great and noteworthy. 

Finally, assessments will serve two functions.  Assessments will evaluate student’s performance and understanding as well as the teacher’s effectiveness.  If any of these are not being met, then the teacher will have great opportunity early on in the unit to make the necessary adjustments- always keeping the student’s best interests in mind. 

 

Authentic Performance Assessment Instrument

            Since we are using a wide variety of assessment methods for different components of the unit, I feel that it is also appropriate to use several different assessment instruments.  I will use a checklist for the first lesson where the students are to recreate the life cycle of a butterfly.  For this lesson I will simply check off whether the students included all stages of the life cycle of a butterfly or not.  I will focus on whether the correct information is there or not. 

            When the students are giving a presentation, I will use a primary traits scale and break up the assignment into different categories.  Not all categories will weigh as heavily as others and students will receive the adequate feedback to know where they need to improve and what areas they are strong in.  The primary traits scale will look something like this:

 

 

 

 

Delivery

Content

Visuals

Level 3

Delivers information without reading from a paper. Uses eye contact to address the audience.

Provides information about given butterfly including diet, environment, special features that characterize given butterfly, etc.

Provides model of given butterfly and the habitat, includes map of the locations where given butterfly thrives, graphs the different locations across North America where given butterfly can be found.

Level 2

Delivers information using index cards as cues to give presentation. Uses eye contact to address the audience. 

Provides information about given butterfly including diet and environment. Does not give any information about special features that characterize given butterfly.

Provides model of given butterfly and the habitat, includes map of the locations where given butterfly thrives.  Does not graph the different locations across North America where given butterfly can be found.

Level 1

Delivers information reading from paper or index cards. No eye contact with the audience.

Provides information about given butterfly’s environment. Does not provide information about butterfly’s diet or any special features that characterize butterfly.

Provides illustration or poster of given butterfly. Does not include map of locations where butterfly thrives. Does not provide graph of different locations across North America where butterfly can be found.

 

 

 

Individual Lesson Plans

 

The Life Cycle of a Butterfly

 

Topic/Theme:  Life Cycle of a Butterfly

Subject:  Life Science

Grade:  3rd

California Standards: Life Sciences-

3.  Adaptations in physical structure or behavior may improve an organism’s chance for survival.  As a basis understanding this concept: 

a. Students know plants and animals have structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.

b. Students know examples of diverse life forms in different environments, such as oceans, deserts, tundra, grasslands, and wetlands. 

d. Students know when the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce; other move to new locations. 

Objectives:

 The Learner will identify and label all stages of the life cycle of a butterfly by creating artistic representations.

The Learner will accurately identify the different body parts of a butterfly given a blank picture of a butterfly to label. 

The learners will correctly classify butterflies given a list of descriptive words that commonly identify specific butterflies.

Activity:  Teacher will read books about insects and butterflies to students.  Students will also watch the video “Butterfly World: Jewels of the Sky” to learn more about butterflies. 

Students will then individually create an art project based on the life cycle of the butterfly.  They will be provided with art supplies and materials to complete this task in any artistic way they so desire.  The focus will be centered on the students’ interest and they will decide how they want to artistically represent the life cycle of a butterfly.  Some students may choose to draw a poster while other may decide to create a 3D model.  Once the students complete the project they will each present it to the class to reinforce their communication and vocabulary skills. 

Materials:  butcher paper, construction paper, glue, glue sticks, scissors, markers, crayons, paint, paint brushes, other miscellaneous art supplies, and relevant literature.

Anticipatory Set:  Students will be motivated to learn and discover more about butterflies by visiting a local park and observing different insects that live there.  Students will also collect different insects such as ladybugs, caterpillars, and butterflies to take back to the classroom.  Students can collect caterpillars and keep them in a jar in class to observe the transformation that caterpillars experience. 

Assessment:  Students will be assessed using a checklist.  The teacher will look for all stages of the life cycle of a butterfly in the completed artistic representations of each student.  

References:  http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subject/butterfly/allabout/

Heiligman, D., From Caterpillar to Butterfly, 1996.  Harper Collins Publishers.

List, I., Moths and Butterflies of North America, 2002. Franklin Watts.

Llewellyn, C., Starting Life: Butterfly, 2003.  Andromeda Oxford Limited.

A Trip to the Park

 

Topic/Theme:  Exploring nature in the park

Subject:  Life Science

Grade:  3rd

California Standards: Life Sciences-

3.  Adaptations in physical structure or behavior may improve an organism’s chance for survival.  As a basis understanding this concept: 

b. Students know examples of diverse life forms in different environments, such as oceans, deserts, tundra, grasslands, and wetlands. 

Objectives: 

The Learner will identify 2-3 insects or bugs that live in the park’s environment. 

The Learner will identify 2-3 types of plants that exist in the park.

The Learner will identify the environment in which these plants and animals live (ocean, desert, tundra, forest, grasslands, wetlands, ect.)

Activity:  After a brief introduction from the previous lesson, the students will be taken on a trip to their local park.  The purpose of the trip will be for the students to observe insects and bugs in their natural surroundings and environment.  The students will have to collect and gather information about what they see.  They must include 2-3 animal and plant forms that they observed in the park.  Students will be provided with a notebook and pencils to jot down what they observe.  They will also be encouraged to draw pictures and collect samples when possible. 

Materials:  notebooks, pencils, erasers, large Ziploc bags and empty jars to collect plants, leaves, insects and bugs. 

Anticipatory Set:  Students will be motivated to participate because they will have the opportunity to collect samples of what they find to bring back to the class.  Students will enjoy a different classroom setting out in the open and will be anxious to participate.  They will have a lot of fun while learning through discovery and exploration.  In addition, students can collect different insects such as caterpillars and take back to the classroom to observe the transformation that caterpillars experience.

Assessment:  Students will be assessed using a checklist to verify whether they have collected all the necessary information.  Students will also be asked to show their notes and illustrations to prevent them from simply collecting things from the park without keeping a log of what they observe.  Finally, students will be asked to write a short paragraph about the environment and include the climate/weather where these plant and animal life forms live. 

References:

 http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subject/butterfly/allabout/

Goor, R. and Goor, N., Insect Metamorphosis: From Egg to Adult, 1990.  Macmillan Publishing Company. 

Heiligman, D., From Caterpillar to Butterfly, 1996.  Harper Collins Publishers.

List, I., Moths and Butterflies of North America, 2002. Franklin Watts.

Llewellyn, C., Starting Life: Butterfly, 2003.  Andromeda Oxford Limited.

 

 

 

Anatomy of the Butterfly

 

Topic/Theme:  The anatomy of the butterfly

Subject:  Life Science

Grade:  3rd

California Standards: Life Sciences-

3.  Adaptations in physical structure or behavior may improve an organism’s chance for survival.  As a basis understanding this concept: 

a. Students know plants and animals have structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.

Objectives: 

The Learner will recognize all body parts of a butterfly given a crossword puzzle to look for the words (no list of words will be given).

The Learner will correctly label all body parts of a butterfly given a blank picture. 

The Learner will accurately articulate specific body parts of a butterfly by writing a short paragraph describing the body parts of a butterfly. 

Activity:  Students will be given a crossword puzzle without a word bank or list of words to look for.  They will look for the different body parts that a butterfly has and use that knowledge to find that words in the crossword puzzle.  Once the students complete this task, they will be given a blank picture of a butterfly.  They will use this picture to label the body parts of the butterfly.  Finally, students will have an opportunity to reflect upon their learning by writing a short paragraph that describes all the body parts of a butterfly. 

Materials:  pencils, paper, erasers, crayons, markers, blank picture of a butterfly, crossword puzzle sheet, video “Butterfly World: Jewels of the Sky”, relevant literature and illustrations/portraits.

Anticipatory Set:  Students will be motivated to participate by watching clips of the video “Butterfly World: Jewels of the Sky”.  This will spark student’s interest in the topic.  In addition, the teacher will read books that will assist the students in completing the task.  By going over the information that students will need to complete the task, students will feel less intimidated and will know that they can use the resources available to them to do their assignment. 

Assessment:  Students will be assessed using a primary traits scale.  Each part of the complete assignment will be evaluated and used to come to an overall grade.  This assignment will be worth a total of 20 points.  The short paragraph will be the most heavily graded as it will be more important to properly articulate a topic rather than completing a worksheet. 

References:

 http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subject/butterfly/allabout/

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/insects/label/butterfly.shtml

Goor, R. and Goor, N., Insect Metamorphosis: From Egg to Adult, 1990.  Macmillan Publishing Company. 

Heiligman, D., From Caterpillar to Butterfly, 1996.  Harper Collins Publishers.

List, I., Moths and Butterflies of North America, 2002. Franklin Watts.

Llewellyn, C., Starting Life: Butterfly, 2003.  Andromeda Oxford Limited.

 

 

 

Butterfly Poem

 

Topic/Theme:  Acrostic Poetry

Subject:  Language Arts/English

Grade: 3rd

California Standards: Life Sciences-

3.  Adaptations in physical structure or behavior may improve an organism’s chance for survival.  As a basis understanding this concept: 

a. Students know plants and animals have structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.

b. Students know examples of diverse life forms in different environments, such as oceans, deserts, tundra, grasslands, and wetlands. 

d. Students know when the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce; other move to new locations. 

Writing Strategies-

1.7       Use various materials as an aid to writing.

Speaking Applications-

2.4  Recite brief poems, soliloquies, or dramatic dialogues, using clear diction, tempo, volume and phrasing.

Objectives: 

The Learner will identify special and unique characteristics of a specific butterfly. 

The Learner will create a brief list of 3-4 butterfly species that live in North America.

The Learner will create an acrostic poem given a specific butterfly (monarch, black swallowtail, milkweed, brush-footed, etc.)

Activity:  Have the students create a class list of butterflies that are prominent across North America.  Once the list has enough choices, students will choose a specific butterfly to read about and research.  Students will create an acrostic poem about the specific butterfly they have chosen to research about.  Once students complete the task, have a couple of volunteers read their poems out loud.  The teacher should go over examples of acrostic poems to insure that students understand what they are to do.  It will be a good idea to have samples of acrostic poems about other animals so that students may have a good idea of what is being asked of them. 

Materials:  paper, pencils, crayons, and relevant books Moths and Butterflies of North America.

Anticipatory Set:  Student’s interest will be developed by reading Moths and Butterflies of North America.  This book includes many colorful and vivid portraits of different butterflies for the students to look at.  In addition, we will also look at different websites to expand our knowledge about butterflies across North America. 

Assessment:  Students will be informally assessed by walking around the classroom and observing them complete the task.  I will ask the students questions regarding sources that they will use to obtain their information and make sure that they are using the appropriate resources. I will assess for affect by observing student’s body language and by asking the students if they are enjoying the lesson.  I will also use a performance assessment to evaluate student’s ability to correctly create an acrostic poem and whether they included the appropriate information to describe their specific butterfly.

References:  http://www.butterflies.com/nabutterflies.htm

http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/bflyusa.htm

http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/thumb/thumb.htm

List, I., Moths and Butterflies of North America, 2002. Franklin Watts.

Final Group Project

 

Topic/Theme: North American butterflies

Subject:  Life Science, Geography, Math, Language Arts, Art

Grade:  3rd

California Standards: Life Sciences-

3.  Adaptations in physical structure or behavior may improve an organism’s chance for survival.  As a basis understanding this concept: 

a. Students know plants and animals have structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.

b. Students know examples of diverse life forms in different environments, such as oceans, deserts, tundra, grasslands, and wetlands. 

d. Students know when the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce; other move to new locations. 

Objectives: 

The Learner will identify butterflies of North America to create a map.

The Learner will graph the location of different butterflies across North America.

The Learner will describe the living environment of a given butterfly.

The Learner will describe the dietary needs of a given butterfly.

Activity:  This will be the final lesson that will close our unit on butterflies.  For this activity students will be divided into groups of four.  Each group will focus their area of study on a specific butterfly of North America to later report to the class.  Students should include a written report and an artistic model/creation/drawing/poster of the given butterfly and the environment as well.  In addition, students should also have a map that portrays where their butterfly lives and have a chart that graphs the locations across North America where their butterfly can be found.  Once students have completed the assignments, they will present their findings to the class. 

Materials:  paper, pens, pencils, markers, water colors, paint, paint brushes, butcher paper, poster board, construction paper, other miscellaneous art supplies, relevant books, internet access, and graphing paper. 

Anticipatory Set:  Students will be anxious to participate in this final lesson.  At this point they will already have acquired much knowledge about the topic and will enjoy coming together as a group to research more information.  

Assessment:  Students will be assessed using a primary traits scale.  Although students will work in a group to complete this task, students will be individually assessed. Students will be assessed for the delivery of the presentation, for the content and for the use of visual aids and/or poster boards.

References:

 http://www.butterflies.com/nabutterflies.htm

http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/bflyusa.htm

http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/thumb/thumb.htm

Goor, R. and Goor, N., Insect Metamorphosis: From Egg to Adult, 1990.  Macmillan Publishing Company. 

Heiligman, D., From Caterpillar to Butterfly, 1996.  Harper Collins Publishers.

List, I., Moths and Butterflies of North America, 2002. Franklin Watts.

Llewellyn, C., Starting Life: Butterfly, 2003.  Andromeda Oxford Limited.