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Teachers' Domain Lesson Plan: Life Cycle of Frogs, Dragonflies and Butterflies


In this lesson, students learn the concept of metamorphosis in an organism’s life cycle by studying the growth and development of butterflies, frogs, and dragonflies/


  • Understand that all animals have a life cycle that includes being born, developing into an adult, reproducing, and eventually dying
  • Understand that the details of life cycles vary from one organism to another and some change form dramatically on in the process of becoming an adult.
  • Sequence the four stages of life of a butterfly

Link to lesson plan.

Most of the activities detailed in this lesson plan can be done with visually impaired students if teachers adapt them using Resources for Teaching and Adapting Science Lessons for Students with Visual Impairments. Students should have access to tactile models and overlays of the different stages in the life cycle of frogs, dragonflies and butterflies before viewing the Metamorphosis: Change of Plans video. The Life Stages cards can be used in the sequencing activity if Braille labels are added.

Suggested time:
3 one-hour sessions and if possible, a field trip to a butterfly farm.


  1. Tactile models of the stages of a butterfly, a frog and a dragonfly. Toy sets can be purchased from Insect Lore.
  2. American Printing House for the Blind science overlays and TTT overlays if available
  3. Graphic representation of a butterfly’s life cycle
  4. Materials to represent the different stages of a butterfly’s life cycle: pipe cleaners, toilet paper rolls, small nylon tubes, cotton balls, coffee filters, tissue paper, clothes pins, pom-poms
  5. Wax strings by Wikki Stix or Klutz
  6. Table top Lazy Susan or turning device to simulate a cycle
  7. Tri-wall or heavy cardboard circle to use as the base of the 3-D model (one per student)
  8. Braille and large print labels

Lesson One Steps

  1. Read Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar and have students explore the tactile models of the developmental stages of a butterfly: egg, pupa, caterpillar and butterfly.
  2. Ask students: Where did the egg come from? What changes did the caterpillar go through on its way to becoming a butterfly?
  3. Provide time for students to explore the overlays and models and discuss each stage of a butterfly’s life cycle.
  4. Provide a braille and large print copy of the butterfly life cycle to each student.
  5. If possible, allow students to handle real pupas, caterpillars and butterflies or take them to a butterfly farm.
  6. Discuss the different textures and feel of an egg, pupa, caterpillar and butterfly.

Lesson Two Steps

  1. Explain to the students that they will be creating a 3D model of the life cycle.
  2. Have students choose which material should be used to represent each stage of the life cycle of the butterfly.
  3. Have students assemble each model of the four stages on the tri-wall circle in the sequence of the developing butterfly.
  4. Attach braille/print labels to each stage.
  5. Use pipe cleaner or Wikki Stix as arrows to indicate the direction of the cycle.
  6. Discuss how the life cycle repeats itself and what is needed to thrive and survive at each stage.

Lesson Three Steps

  1. Tell students that they are going to watch a video showing the changes that happen to several different organisms over the course of their life cycles. They will see a tadpole develop into a frog, a nymph develop into a dragonfly, and a caterpillar develop into a butterfly.
  2. Ask students to explore tactile models and overlays of the life cycle of a butterfly frog and a dragonfly.
  3. Watch the Metamorphosis: Change of Plans video (use the alternate version with audio description). Ask students: What are the similarities and differences in the life cycles of butterflies, dragonflies and frogs?
  4. Break the class into three groups: frogs, dragonflies and butterflies. Watch the Metamorphosis: Change of Plans video (again, use the alternate version with audio description) one more time and ask each group to listen for answers to the following questions about their animal: How long do the changes take? Where do the babies live? Where do the adults live? Do the babies eat different things than the adults?
  5. Hand out Life Stages cards with braille labels and ask students to put them in the right order.
  6. Ask students: How does metamorphosis helps these animals grow up? What is the difference between how humans grow up and how a caterpillar grows up.

Links to Lesson Plans