Flight Patterns: Exploring Shape and Color with Butterfly Design

Alice Spickard, Cindy Motamen, Garnett Webb, Jonathan Richard, Natalia Disney, Sara Ridings

Students will be able to identify shapes within their butterfly designs, and compare their designs with other students to find similarities and differences in shapes and colors.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Caterpillars and Butterflies by Stephanie Turnbull, (Usborne Beginners Books)
Alphabet Rockers- “Shape Rap” (http://vimeo.com/m/23867360)
18” x 24” paper
Black paint and 1” wide brushes
A variety of smaller cut paper circles, triangles, rectangles, ovals, squares and rhombuses in various colors


1. Read aloud the two books, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Caterpillars and Butterflies. Compare how they are the same and how they are different.
2. Examine photographs (and real specimens if available) of different type of butterflies. Discuss similarities and differences. Notice especially how one wing matches the other—symmetrical design.
3. Create butterfly designs:
a. Paint butterfly wing outline on large paper (18”x24”): fold the paper in half, then open it up. Paint a very large capital letter “B” on the right half of the paper with the straight part on the fold. Then refold the paper and let the paint dry.
b. Watch “Shape Rap” and have students sort and identify shapes by shape and then by color.
i. Use document camera to model using cut paper shapes to create a design on one wing, then a matching design on the other wing. Discuss while modeling, how the colors and shapes on one side match the colors and shapes on the other side.
c. Use cut paper shapes to create the wing design on one wing—glue design in place
d. Make a matching design on the other side.
e. Students then write (or dictate) a sentence describing their butterflies.

Differentiation Approaches

1. Already have the “B” painted for students.
2. Have the shapes to make the matching wing already assembled for students.


The finished butterfly will show design the same thing on each side.

Students will sort themselves using their butterfly designs: if you have purple triangles, stand on this side, if you have blue triangles, stand on the other side.

Follow Up and Extension Ideas

Identify butterflies that live in different parts of the world; find those places on maps or globes, then find out how the people from that place are the same or different than the people in our class.

After exploring the culture of people from other places through books, video and other available resources, learn folk dances from those cultures. Create a Venn diagram to compare how two of the dances are the same and different.

Identify needs of butterflies and their habitats; then create a dance depicting how butterflies gather their food from the habitat. Extend the art lesson to create wings that students wear as costumes for the dance.

Additional Details

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