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Learning outcomes

Students will learn to understand the similarities and differences between the life cycle of butterflies and frogs by integrating the second grade science, mathematics, and language arts curriculum.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

5 days


Technology resources

Computer with printer and internet hook-up.



Day One

  1. Read aloud the book, Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones by Ruth Heller or any other book which explains that many animals have a life cycle which includes eggs.
  2. As you use Ruth Heller’s book or other books you have chosen, discuss the life cycle of the frog and compare it to the life cycle of the butterfly. Point out to students that frogs are amphibians while butterflies are insects. Begin the Life Cycle word chart by writing the words, “amphibians” and “insects.”
  3. Even though amphibians and insects are not a part of the life cycle vocabulary, the life cycle discussion will include a comparison of butterfly and frog life cycles. It is important to point out that one of the differences is that butterflies are insects while frogs are amphibians. ELLs also need to be learning some higher order vocabulary words used to classify animals.
  4. Display a chart of the life cycle of the frog or give the students a picture of the life cycle of the frog which has already been labeled. Give the students a paper with pictures of the stages of the life cycle of the frog for them to label. These may be created by the teacher or adapted from another publication.

Day Two

  1. Read aloud the book Butterfly and Frog or any other book which compares and contrasts the life cycle of the butterfly and the frog. Review the life cycle of the frog.
  2. Draw a Venn diagram on chart paper. See Learn NC Education Reference for information on Venn diagrams. Brainstorm with the students the similarities and differences of the butterfly and frog life cycles. Write these similarities and differences on the Venn diagram during the discussion.
  3. Point out that the only similarities are the egg and adult stages. Also review that butterflies are insects and that frogs are amphibians. Ask the students how many stages are in each life cycle. (Frog—3. Butterfly—4.) Discuss the other stages with students including the tadpole stage for frogs and the caterpillar and cocoon stages for butterflies. Explain that the synonym for caterpillar is larva and that the synonyms for cocoon are chrysalis and pupa. Add the words tadpole, caterpillar,larva,cocoon, chrysalis, and pupa to the Life Cycle Chart.
  4. Give the students blank Venn diagrams and have them copy the Venn diagram that was discussed.

Day Three

  1. Review the life cycles of the butterfly and frog. Read aloud From Tadpole to Frog by David Stewart or any other book on the frog life cycle. Discuss, compare, and contrast the space, food, and air needed by the butterfly and frog. Review all stages of the life cycles.
    • Frog:
      • Space/where the frog lives — water and land
      • Food/what the frog eats — insects
      • Air/what the frog breathes — oxygen from water and air on land
    • Butterfly:
      • Space — outdoors
      • Food — milkweed, other host trees, and nectar from flowers
      • Air — oxygen from the atmosphere
  2. This lesson plan is an integrated lesson. Students have previously studied pictographs and the use of tally marks in their math lessons. Now use simple vocabulary from this lesson—butterflies and frogs—to review the math concepts during this science lesson.
  3. Review with students how to do a scavenger hunt. Divide the students into four groups: two butterfly and two frog groups. Explain to them that they will go to the library for their scavenger hunt where they will look for pictures of either frogs and butterflies. Tell them to take paper and pencils with them. Allow twenty minutes in the library for the scavengar hunt.
  4. In the library tell the students to make tally marks for each butterfly and frog they find. Tell the students to take their papers with tally marks with them back to the classroom.
  5. In the classroom review how to make a pictograph. For more information on pictographs refer to the Math Teaching Models page from Education Place. Have each group make a pictograph with their tally marks. Tape the pictographs to the white board. Ask the students the following questions:
    • How many butterflies/frogs did each group find?
    • Which group has more butterflies/frogs?
    • Which group has fewer butterflies/frogs?
  6. Continue the discussion using other math comparisons according to the needs of the class.


Give students a blank picture of the frog life cycle. Tell them to choose the words from the Life Cycle chart to label the diagram. Tell students to also number in the correct order the stages of the life cycle. You may need to create your own diagram. Students will be expected to complete this with eight percent accuracy.

Have students complete the life cycle worksheet.

Use the Life Cycle Assessment as a tool for your evaluation.

Supplemental information

Heller, Ruth. (1981) Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones. Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. This book has excellent pictures of the following animals which lay eggs: chickens, peacocks, turkeys, ostrich, hummingbirds, snakes, lizards, crocodiles, turtles, dinosaurs, frogs, toads, salamanders, fish, seahorses, sharks, stingrays, octopuses, moonsnails, spiders, snails, butterflies, and other insects. It shows a spiny anteater and a duckbill platypus as mammals which are exceptions and also lay eggs. It also shows that other mammals have live babies. The text is simple and would work for native speakers and ELLs.

Lieber, Robert. (2004) Butterflies and Frogs. Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. This is a wonderful upside-down book.

Marzollo, Jean and Judith Moffatt. I’m a Caterpillar (Hello Reader)! Science, Level l.

Hickman, Pamela and Heather collins. A New Frog: My First Look at the Life Cycle of an Amphibian (My First Look at Nature).

Allen, Judy. Are You a Butterfly? Backyard Books.

Stewart, David. From Tadpole to Frog.


Day l:

  1. Every day have the ELL print his/her first and last name with assistance if needed. Pair the ELL with a buddy who knows the ELL’s second language much better or a native speaker who will be compatible with the ELL. During the K-W-L the ELL will be listening.
  2. During the Anticipation Guide the ELL will be listening with his/her buddy. After the Anticipation Guide, ask the ELL to hold up the correct flash card as you say them: egg, caterpillar, crysalis, and butterfly. Then ask them to go to the white board and draw the word you say using TPR and hold up the cards as you give the number of the life cycle stage: first, second, third and fourth. Mix these up as you say them.

Day 2:

  1. Pair the ELL with the buddy from Day l. Have the ELL work with the buddy to label the picture of the life cycle of the frog.
  2. As you read the book aloud, call on native speakers and ELLs up to point to the pictures you name. A native speaker would be ask to point to something like the egg yolk or lily pad that they will not know while the ELL will point to pictures of simplified vocabulary such as leaves, eggs, and various animals.

Day 3:

Day 4:

  1. Use TPR with ELLs as the critical vocabulary for Day 4 is used in the lesson. For example, as you use the word breathe, breathe in and out and exagerate your action. You may ask all students to do the action with you. Point to air. Use visuals for any words that are difficult to demonstrate. For example, it would be very good to have a visual of milkweed and nectar. For these visuals, see Educational Science.
  2. Put the ELL with his/her buddy for the scavengar hunt and pictograph activities. If the ELL has difficulty with counting the tally marks, ask the buddy to count aloud with the ELL.

Alternative assessments

Life Cycle Assessment. Discussion—The ELL will not be able to participate orally in the discussion. For this part of the assessment, provide pictures of the critical vocabulary and ask him/her to point to the picture that you name. You could use the flashcards that are a part of the resources for this unit, charts in the room or pictures in the books that have been used.

Do not assess the Anticipation Guide.

Labeling the Frog Life Cycle. The ELL should be expected to take the words from the critical vocabulary to use for this activity.

Cooperative Work. Indicate how well the ELL worked with group members.

Pictograph. In order for the ELL to participate in the discussion, show the ELL the pictographs and ask the ELL to point to the one with more butterflies/more frogs/fewer butterflies/fewer frogs. Ask, “How many butterflies/frogs are there?”

Life Cycle Lesson Questionaire. Read aloud the questions on the questionaire modifying the questions orally which use vocabulary that was not a part of the critical vocabulary.

Critical vocabulary

Day l: life cycle, egg, caterpillar, crysalis, butterfly, first, second, third, fourth, label

Day 2: life cycle, egg, tadpole, frog, amphibian, insect, chart, label

Day 3: stage, critical vocabulary from days l and 2

Day 4: eat, food, breathe, air, space, lives, where, water, land, oxygen, tree, flower

Day 4 Math Vocabulary: How many? more, fewer


This lesson plan was developed during the English Language Development Standard Course of Study lesson planning institutes hosted by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and LEARN NC, June and July, 2004. It includes specific strategies, instructional modifications, and alternative assessments which make this lesson accessible to limited English proficient students. Please note that this lesson has been aligned with the goals and objectives of the N.C. English Language Development standards.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 2

Science (2005)

Grade 2