Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Bountiful Butterflies

Alicia Floyd
Santa Rosa District Schools


After creating a symmetrical design resembling a butterfly, the students describe symmetry. Using their pictures students then write a story about the butterfly while focusing on creative ideas.


The student focuses on a central idea and groups related ideas.

The student describes symmetry in two-dimensional shapes.


-THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR by Eric Carle, Scholastic, Inc., NY, 1969
-Fingerpaint, at least two different colors
-Fingerpaint paper (10 X 12) one sheet per student
-Writing paper, one to two sheets per student
-Pencils, one per student
-Teacher-created symmetrical shape resembling a butterfly prepared ahead of time with fingerpaint to use as an example
-Strips of plain white paper (1 X 10) one for each student


1. Get a copy of THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR by Eric Carle.
2. Have ready at least two colors of fingerpaint.
3. Cut fingerpaint paper (10 X 12) to provide one per student.
4. Cut strips of plain white paper (1X 10) to provide one per student.
5. Make a symmetrical design, using fingerpaint, that resembles a butterfly. Follow steps 5-8 listed in procedures.


1. Read aloud THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR by Eric Carle.

2. Discuss what might happen to the butterfly that hatched from the cocoon.

3. Explain to students that they will produce their own picture of a butterfly, write a description, and finish the project by writing their own story.

4. Show students the teacher-made example of the butterfly and discuss how each side is the same – symmetrical.

5. Pass out fingerpaint paper. Have students fold in half “hamburger style” (width wise), make a crease, then unfold

6. Drop several small dots of at least 2 different colors of fingerpaint on each student’s paper on one side near the center

7. Instruct students to fold the paper and rub on the outside from the center out and up, then out and down. This should form the wings of the butterfly when the paper is unfolded.

8. Have the students carefully unfold the paper and look at their designs. They should somewhat resemble a butterfly. Encourage creative thinking if it doesn't.

9. Clean up accidents

10. Pass out paper strips and have students describe the butterfly by starting a sentence with the words: This butterfly is symmetrical because……

11. Students then glue the strips on the same paper under their butterfly picture

12. Open discussion by having students think about what might happen if their butterfly came to life. It wouldn't be like the caterpillar in the story and eat all the time. What would it do? List several ideas, suggested by students, on the board. Explain to students that you will be looking for creative and new ideas in their story.

13. Pass out writing paper

14. Allow at least 20 - 30 minutes writing time


The teacher elicits discussion through questioning from each child about the concept of symmetry. Clarify any misconceptions. Students should write their description of the butterfly using the words “symmetrical” and “like”. This would be a pass/fail assessment.

Assess student’s focus on a central idea and grouping related ideas and creative and critical thinking in their writing by the following criteria:

Excellent - It makes sense.
It sounds like the writer knows quite a bit about this topic. It says something new or says it in a new way.
It has at least three detail sentences that make the reader want to keep reading

Satisfactory - It makes sense.
It sounds like the writer knows something about the topic. It has at least two detail sentences.

Needs Improvement – It doesn’t make sense.
It sounds like the writer doesn’t know much about the topic. It has no detail sentences.


Students should have the following prior knowledge of the writing process: Stories have a beginning, a middle stating details, and an end.

Stories may be edited, rewritten, and bound (along with the butterfly pictures) to make a classroom book.

Web Links

Web supplement for Bountiful Butterflies

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