This was a lesson on butterflies from the Virtual Museum of Canada. The teaching objectives remained the same except for integrating technology. The Internet will be used for most of the research. Electronic spreadsheets and graphs will be used for comparisons. And, reports will be organized and created using technology.


The websites chosen were based on students in grades 2-3. Some teacher intervention will be needed: showing which NH County to choose and some reading assistance. Software programs chosen were MS Excel and Kidspiration. Instruction on how to use these programs can be incorporated within the lesson or instruction can be during the technology special.


The assistive-adaptive technology I selected was Kidspiration. This program helps students to organize their thoughts into writing at the same time as having a text-to-speech option. This program helps those who need visual and audio simultaneously. The website I chose for differentiated instruction was the one with the butterfly photographs (butterflywebsite.com). Those students who learn more effectively using pictures will benefit using the images of the butterflies while creating their own illustrations.


Teaching Objectives:

1.          Students will research on the Internet what species of butterflies are commonly found in areas near their school.

2.          Students will research on the Internet the identification of the butterflies, their host plants, and nectar sources.

3.          Students will use the Internet to color distinguishing markings for one of their butterflies.

4.          Students will observe these butterflies in areas near their school and document their observations.

5.          Students will analyze and electronically compare the data for the various species.

6.          Students will electronically organize and create a report to share with their classmates.


Technology Objectives:

1.          Students develop positive attitudes toward technology uses that support lifelong learning, collaboration, personal pursuits, and productivity.

2.          Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.

3.          Students use productivity tools to prepare publications and produce other creative works.

4.          Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information for a variety of sources.

5.          Students use technology tools to process data and report results.

(Technology Foundation Standards for Students: NETS for Students)


Materials Needed:

1.    Computers with an Internet connection, Kidspiration, MS Excel and MS Word.

2.    Butterfly Identification Data Sheet and pencils.

3.    Data sheets for recording data (choose teachers), pencils and clipboards.

4.    Butterfly nets if possible. These are used to capture butterflies that are hard to identify at a distance. The students should be warned about handling the butterflies carefully to ensure that they do not damage the wings.

5.    Binoculars, if possible. These may help in identification of the butterflies.

6.    Regional field guide to flowers to identify flowers the butterflies are feeding on.



1.          Have students’ research three butterflies that live in their region of New Hampshire. Show students which regional area to select.

2.          Have students’ identify what their butterflies look like, when their flight periods are, and where are their habitats. Enter the information in the Butterfly Identification Data Sheet.

3.          Have students use the Internet to research which plants host the caterpillar and are the nectar sources for their butterflies. Enter the information in the Butterfly Identification Data Sheet.

4.          Using the Internet, choose a picture to color and print it.

5.          Using the Internet, find a photograph of one of your butterflies. Color a picture of your butterfly. Use all the right colors and include unique markings that will help to identify your butterfly.

6.          Once the students have completed their pictures, a schedule for visiting the site should be planned. Each visit should be for at least one hour and preferably at the same time of day. Ideally, visits should be made at least once a week over a four-week period. If this is not possible, even one visit will be of value.

7.          Another approach is to visit the site at two different times of day (mid-morning and mid-afternoon would work) within a two or three day period or even on the same day. This will show the amount and type of activity depending on time of day. Note that generally butterflies spend more time feeding in the morning and more time flying in the afternoon.

8.          Before going into the field, students should read some suggestions for watching butterflies. Make an announcement that “wildly chasing a butterfly generally achieves nothing and tends to destroy vegetation and disrupt butterfly behavior”. If students need to catch a butterfly, they will need a butterfly net. Remind the students to always handle a butterfly gently.

9.          When in the field the students will need to record the following information on the data sheet:

·             number of individuals seen

·             types of flowers visited

·             the amount of time spent flying as opposed to feeding (this may be done on a percentage basis or in minutes).

·             Keep in mind that it is not necessary that the student record all the above (except for flight vs feed). Students in younger grades might pick only flight vs feed to observe. Older students should be encouraged to conduct each survey in exactly the same manner (time of day, duration, etc.).

10.     When back in the classroom, students should transcribe all their data in a MS Excel spreadsheet. Students are to create one chart comparing the flying time vs the feeding time. The old field sheets should be kept for reference.

11.     The class can now analyze the data, looking at differences in behavior and numbers depending on time of day or time period if done over a few weeks. As a group, a comparison of different species found in the same area can also be done. If more than one site is studied, a comparison can be made of the same butterfly species in the two sites. This could be tied into habitat and thus a habitat description would be necessary. This might concentrate on types of wild flowers as in the following example "large overgrown field with lots of wild flowers, primarily asters, goldenrod and red clover”.

12.     Students are to map their findings in Kidspiration, using text to speech if needed, export an outline into MS Word and present it in class. Then the class could discuss how any changes in the butterflies' habitat would affect the butterflies.

13.     Finally, the compilation of the data could be posted on the school website (if you have one) to share your result with others. This is a form of publication of your results, which gives the study additional value.






Name of butterfly species




Catepillar Host Plant

Butterfly Nectar Source



















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