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Symmetrical Butterflies

Create 2-dimensional symmetrical butterflies with beautiful patterns and colors.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. With your students, observe pictures and small models of butterflies. Ask students to discuss basic body parts (head, thorax, abdomen, wings, antennae, 6 legs). In the discussion, note that the butterfly has 4 wings, 2 large on top, and two on the bottom. The patterns have matching patterns in a symmetrical fashion, but the top of a butterfly wing does not always match the bottom of the wing. Within the discussion, include life cycle (larvae, pupa, chrysalis, butterfly).
    2. Distribute 12" x 18" ((30.48 cm x 45.72 cm) white paper to students and have them fold it in half.
    3. Using a dark colored Crayola Oil Pastel, demonstrate for students how to draw 1/2 of the butterfly (head, thorax, abdomen, wings). Also encourage them to draw patterns, organic and geometric shape designs on the wings.
    4. Ask students to unfold their white paper and make sure drawing touches the fold so symmetrical pattern and shape design will be successful.
    5. Show students how you want them to again fold their papers, like a book this time, with the drawing on the inside. Use Crayola Blunt Tip Scissors or Pointed Tip Scissors (depending upon student age), and rub the back of the drawing using the plastic handle as a rubbing tool, pressing or transferring the dark design onto the other side of the paper to create the symmetrical design. Unfold.
    6. Use the same dark colored oil pastel and trace over the transferred lines to match the original side. Fill in the entire design with a variety of brighter colors, with matching wings to create a symmetrical design.
    7. Have students fold and cut designs on outside lines. Unfold and have them use a hole punch to add two holes in the head. Bend one Chenille stick in a "V" shape and insert ends through holes on back side of head. Secure with transparent tape.
    8. Provide time in the school day for students to share their symmetrical butterflies with classmates, describing parts of the butterflies and patterns included in designs.
  • Standards

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Reason with shapes and their attributes.

    SCI: Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.

    SCI: Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

    VA: Use observation and investigation in preparation for making a work of art.

    VA: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.

    VA: Explore uses of materials and tools to create works of art or design.

  • Adaptations

    Transform 2-d butterflies to 3-dimensional by adding color to the bottom of the wings in a symmetrical design, and use leftover paper from cutting out the butterfly, to create 6 paper legs which can be attached using Crayola No-Run Glue or Crayola Glue Sticks (note: do not add oil pastel on the spot where legs attach so glue will be able to successfully adhere.) Allow to dry, add string and hang from the ceiling.

    Create a large paper garden and add butterflies in the display. Create other parts of the life cycle and add to the garden. Read Lois Elhert's WAITING FOR WINGS, or Gail Gibbons' BUTTERFLY for additional resources.

    Ask students to create butterflies with a limited palette of colors (primary/ secondary/ warm/cool) and / or use either geometric or organic shapes for the patterns on the wings. Hold a class discussion and use butterflies for sorting by size, color, patterns, etc.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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