Monday, March 19, 2012

Life cycles of animals


Science last week had us exploring how animals change as they grow, their needs, how they look different or the same as their parents, and their life cycles. 

Living Things - Needs of animals
The beginning of this unit has the children distinguishing between living and non-living things

*Here is a short online sorting activity to go along with living/non-living

*Introduction to needs of animals online lesson

*p.71-73 of this document has young and adult living things things to match (73 is a decent printable to use for sequencing life cycle of a butterfly for assessment

*living, non- living game

*Great YouTube song and video on animal needs.  My kids really got it!


"Mamas and Babies"
*I found these beautiful animal baby and parent photographs that you can print.  These would be great to glue into file folders for a matching game. 

*This page has stunning photographs that were a  compilation from National Geographic.  These are great for display on the Smartboard.

*We also read Whose Baby am I by John Butler.  Such sweet illustrations!


And of course, we had to read Is Your Mama a Llama and  Does a Kangaroo have a Mother, too?





In our Life Cycles study, we focused on animals that differ from their parents during their life cycle.

Butterfly activities:

*Never got around to this one, but found it adorable! Wrap the kids up as a chrysalis!


*Thanks to the The Art of Teaching Blog for sharing this great download.  We colored the picture, and then they glued orzo on for the eggs, spiral/corkscrew pasta for the caterpillar, shell pasta for the chrysalis, and a bowtie pasta for the butterfly.  So sweet.  The kids thought the orzo were real caterpillar eggs! 

We split the boxes of pasta as a grade level, but I think next year I will buy a box of each on my own and dump the extras in a small box.  This could be a great sensory tub, and the kids could pick out the 4 stages and draw a leaf for the egg to lay on, another leaf for the caterpillar to munch, a tree branch for the chrysalis to hang from, and then paint the butterfly. 



Fun article explains the Butterfly Life Cycle, has LOTS of life cycle images and a coloring page too!The Butterfly Site has great photos, like the one to the left.  It also has short video clips of each stage.  Nice resource!  You could print the photographs for a sequencing activity. 

*We usually get the butterfly eggs (caterpillar eggs?  which came first? ha!) and watch the life cycle later in the school year when it's warm enough to release.  I think this year I am going to try to get some good pictures of each stage so there is a better connection, and use those pictures for sequencing. 


*This is a cute life cycle of a butterfly video on YouTube that is narrarated from the butterfly's perspective.
Source: youtube.com via Taryn on Pinterest


*For large motor/transitions, we ball up into an egg, lie flat to be caterpillars, stand up and slowly spin ourselves into a chrysalis, wrapping our arms around ourselves, and the fly back to our seats as butterflies!

*Butterfly template I have used this template in the past, drawn a dotted line down the middle, had the children paint one side, folded it on top of itself, and used it to show symmetry of the butterfly.  Since this really doesn't have anything to do with life cycles, I opted not to go for this activity this time.  You could also have the students draw their own butterfly (although you might not have symmetry, I found my kiddos couldn't cut it folded and still have an eye for what half a butterfly would look like! :)

*Online book See How they Grow Butterfly from We Give Books

*This might be a good time to incorporate this idea from Under the Alphabet tree into your word work stations, except make the printable a caterpillar instead of a snake, or just have the words written and tell them the slinkys are caterpillars to stretch out words.



Very Hungry Caterpillar

*Printables from 1+1+1 = 1


*YouTube Very Hungry Caterpillar


Frog Life Cycles:

*Nice YouTube video:





Source: youtube.com via Taryn on Pinterest


*Fun craft ideas from DLTK-kids., like painting bubble wrap to be the frog eggs.  The links to downloads are there also to make a life cycle craft.

*I love these idea from Amy Anderson at Let's Explore to make paper plate spinners of the life cycle.  Could use this for many animals and plates!


*And another idea, that is just too precious for words from I Heart Crafty Things


Other resources:

*computer graphics of chick developing inside egg

*Check your Scholastic book orders for great books!  I just did a quick search, and couldn't find the set I got years ago, but my students love them.  I think the set I got had about 5 books of different animal life cycles.  Great pics and the kids could pick out some of the words!

Life Cycle Sequencing KitI've got my eye on this kit from Lakeshore on life cycles.  It's $29.95, so I might keep my eye out for Dollar Store toys that will work, and crafty ideas to make these.  But they would be great in a center!





Life Cycles Theme Box

This Life Cycle Theme Box from Lakeshore has photo cards, puzzles, stamps, and similar animals to those shown above, as well as some plant life cycle resources.  It's $49.95, so again, another nice to have, but not sure I can take that chunk out of my budget.  If you have a larger budget, this would be a nice resource!





If you do a lot with bird life cycles,. I love, love, love this cute art activity!  I can totally see this on a page with a little shredded paper bird nest and some fingerprint eggs! 

Hope you found something quick and easy to add to your unit!


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