Learning Through Nature: Lisha Kill’s Butterflies

Lisha Kill fifth grade teachers Ms. Corigliano, Ms. Smith, and Mrs. Stark bring one of their favorite units back to the classroom. Learn more about how it started and the impact the unit has on students.

Monarch Butterfly life cycle: first picture is the larva, second is the cocoon, third is the caterpillar and fourth is the adult butterfly
Ms. Corigliano shares photos of the life cycle of the monarch butterfly.

How did this project get started?

In 2018, Ms. Corigliano and her students read an article in the Time For Kids magazine about the monarch butterfly. They learned all about this wondrous creature but we also learned that the monarch population was declining at an alarming rate. In the article, scientists shared their concern about the eventual extinction of this species and shared some solutions to help prevent this extinction. They decided that they wanted to be a part of the solution. That 2018 class started this whole project by planting their very own milkweed garden.This would help to provide their monarchs with the host plant they rely on for survival. This same milkweed garden continues to offer Lisha Kill’s monarchs a safe haven year after year, as more fifth grade classes follow in the footsteps of their predecessors, releasing these life-giving pollinators back into the local ecosystem.

What is the lasting impact of this project?

Child with monarch butterfly on their hand with wide-eyes and open mouth- clearly in shock and awe at the fantastic little creature who has chosen them as a perch.

This project has such potential for students to make positive changes that this team of teachers wanted to include it into their science class as a yearly tradition. In September of 2019, Ms. Corigliano ordered Monarch larvae and the students became caregivers, observers, scientists as we watched this creature grow. Although the original focus was never on the life cycle of the butterfly, participants found it impossible not to be amazed at this metamorphosis. Students’ natural curiosity led to investigation and research.  The students learned so much about this insect as they watched them grow. The release was magical and all the students walked away with an unforgettable experience and for some, a new love and passion.

This unforgettable experience has become a staple for Lisha Kill’s fifth grade science learners. By learning that even the smallest of insects have so much to offer us, students not only take away invaluable lessons about the complexities of the world around us, but also the importance of patience, and taking a moment to enjoy every process of life, and growth, no matter how small.