Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

A few weeks ago, a good friend gave the girls a few black swallowtail chrysalides (in our social circle, summers are made of homeschooling families offering, swapping, and bartering small critters to each other, as we all apparently conduct our own little Charlotte Mason-style studies). As often as we've raised tadpoles, and fostered kittens, and tried our hands at chickens and praying mantises, and kept the odd spider, lightening bug, and lizard under captive observation, these were our first butterflies.

Chrysalides are a good intro to butterflies, since all you have to do to keep them is pop them into the butterfly barn, then walk by them every now and then, thinking, "Nope... nope... nope... nope... BUTTERFLY!!!"

Fortunately, each chrysalis hatched open upon its own timetable, giving us plenty of time to identify, research the order of classification, and sketch each butterfly--

--and then set each one free:
We really like this good-sized butterfly barn.

 I'm hoping to use those last two photos for the girls' butterfly anatomy work, since I haven't found any good, Montessori-style three-part cards with scientific anatomical terms.

We're still working on butterfly anatomy, and the butterfly life cycle, and we've got some painted lady butterfly chrysalides in the butterfly barn right now, but here are the butterfly and caterpillar resources that we've been enjoying so far:

I'm also using several ideas from my Homeschool Unit Study: Butterflies pinboard and several videos from the free Discovery Education Streaming promotion over at
Homeschool Buyers Co-op
#1 Way to Save

I'm going to be SUPER sad when that promotion ends, by the way. 


Tina said...

That last picture is amazing!

Anytime we find a dead butterfly, it goes into a jar. Emma has a pretty good butterfly collection at the moment.

What a fun study!

julie said...

I'm a little worried now because in that photo, it looks as if the butterfly's proboscis hasn't fused together yet, but I swear we had it for several hours before we released it.

I can't tell you the last time I've found a dead butterfly. I am apparently not very observant!