Pop into the First Graders Accordion Fold Butterfly Books!


How do we know what is living and non-living?

What does this living thing need to stay alive?

What does this living thing look like at each stage of development?

How do plants and animals depend on each other in this place?

What is a scientific illustration? 

Learning Standards


7.13 b & c – life cycles and reproduction; interdependence within ecoystems   

S1-2:4 Students demonstrate their ability to conduct experiments by: Referring to and following a simple plan for an investigation, and Describing observations using senses rather than feelings, and recording observations of change.

Visual Arts Skill Development

National Core Art Standards

VA:Cr1.2.1a –     Use observation and investigation in preparation for making a work of art.

VA:Cn11.1.1a –  Understand that people from different places and times have made art for a variety of reasons.

The first grade students at IAA have been studying lifecycles.  Inquisitive students have been observing, investigating, and recording the life cycle of a group of monarch caterpillars that live in their classroom.  They have also learned about scientific illustration.  Scientific illustrators represent visually aspects of science, particularly observations of the natural world. Their emphasis is on showing precise detail.    Scientific illustrators are skilled artists.

First graders then used the visual arts as a method of recording their scientific observations.  Each student sketched the individual stages of the lifecycle, paying careful attention to precise visual details of the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly, just as a scientific illustrator would.  Composition and color choices were made by each first grader as they worked, and they then created a pop-up, accordion fold book – a perfect culminating experience and record of their scientific understanding of these cycles.

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About arts coach

I am the arts integration coach for the Integrated Arts Academy, Vermont's one and only magnet school dedicated to the arts. I work closely with classroom teachers, local artists, art organizations, and other community members to provide a network of opportunities in the arts for our students.

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