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Student Projects

Cycles and Patterns: Insects, Plants, and Caterpillars

Authors: Diane Hawke, Jen Schultz

Grade: Kindergarten

Subjects: Art, Biology, Humanities, Science

Drawing: the caterpillar grows inside each egg
Drawing: the big caterpillar hangs from a branch
Drawing: the butterfly comes out of the shell
Drawing: the butterfly dries his wings
Drawing: the butterfly flies away
Drawing: the butterfly lays eggs on a leaf
Drawing: the caterpillar amkes a hard shell called a pupa
Drawing: the caterpillar comes out of the egg
Drawing: The Pupa changes into a butterfly

In Kindergarten this year our “big idea” is patterns, which we work toward integrating across all of our curricular areas. We studied insects and plants, and in each study, we focused on cycles which repeat themselves and form a pattern.

For our insect study, each child chose an insect they wanted to research independently. The children drew a picture of their insect and labeled its parts. Finally, the children created a clay model of their insect.

We read “Diary of a Worm”, a book looking at daily life from the perspective of a worm. Each child created a diary writing daily entries from the perspective of the insect her or she was studying.

As part of the insect study, we also raised caterpillars and watched them go through the cycle of egg-caterpillar–pupa-butterfly. Each child illustrated one part of the cycle.

We also explored plants and seeds this year. We sprouted a bean in a plastic bag. We took apart a plant and looked at its parts. We also took a trip to the Carlsbad Flower Fields, a commercial flower farm. As a class, we created a poster showing the four things a plants needs to grow: water, sun, soil, and air.

Finally, we had a discussion about the parallels between the lifecycles of plants and butterflies.

They both need food. – Sara

They both need sunlight; the plants needs it to grow and the butterfly needs it to dry its wings. – J.P. and Brooklynn

They both need water. –Cole

They both need air. –Deaven

They both repeat over and over and over again. – Josiah

They both make babies – the butterfly makes a caterpillar and the plant makes a seed. –Pierce

The plant comes out of the seed shell and the butterfly comes our of the pupa shell – Casey


The butterfly lays an egg on a leaf


A caterpillar grows inside each egg


The catrerpillar comes out of the egg


The big caterpillar hangs from a branch


The butterfly makes a hard shell


The Pupa changes into a butterfly


The butterfly dries its wings


The butterfly flies away


The butterfly comes out of the shell