Science Projects for Third Grade: Create a Butterfly Life Cycle


Review the life cycle of an animal. Discuss the shape of a circle and ask students if a circle has an end. Show them that a circle is a curved line that meets to form a circle. Tell them that a cycle is something that repeats over and over again. Can they think of anything that is a cycle (bicycles, motorcycle, laundry cycle, dishwasher cycle and so on?) Tell them that animals have a life cycle. They are born, they grow, they give birth, and then they die. Since they are always giving birth, they are always starting back at the beginning of the cycle.

You will need the following items for this science project:

  1. Poster board
  2. Markers
  3. Crayons
  4. Pictures of the butterfly at different stages
  5. Glue
  6. Scissors

Follow the directions below to create a butterfly life cycle:

  1. Review the four stages that a butterfly will go through. They are egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
  2. Have students draw a large circle onto their poster boards.
  3. Tell students the life cycle will start at the top of the circle. Review the stage that comes first. The students should remember that the first stage of a butterfly's life is the egg.
  4. Have students find a picture of a butterfly egg to glue at the top of the circle. If they can't find one, then they can draw it. Next, they label the stage above the picture.
  5. Move on to stage number two. Review the larva stage of a butterfly's life.
  6. Find a picture to represent the larva stage or draw one. This should be drawn on the right hand side as the life cycle is drawn in a clockwise direction.
  7. Make sure students have drawn an arrow from stage number one pointing to stage number two.
  8. Discuss the butterfly's third stage of life. It is called the pupa stage.
  9. Have the students draw a representation of the pupa stage or glue a picture of it.
  10. Draw the arrow from stage two to stage three. Stage three should be at the bottom of the circle.
  11. Discuss stage four, which is the adult stage. This is where we see the butterfly in all of its glory.
  12. Draw a beautiful, colorful butterfly on the left hand side of the circle. They can also glue a picture of one.
  13. Remind students to draw the arrow from stage three to stage four.
  14. Last, the students complete the circle by drawing an arrow from stage four to stage one where the cycle begins again with the birth of a new egg.

by Gra¿yna D³uba³a

This post is part of the series: Third Grade Science Projects

This is a series of science projects that can be completed by third grade students.
  1. Science Projects for Third Grade: The Butterfly Life Cycle
  2. Science Projects for Third Grade: The Plant Life Cycle
  3. Science Projects for Third Grade: Experimenting with Cereal
  4. Third Grade Science: Peanut Butter
  5. Projects for Third Grade: Observing the Sky with a Sky Map