Introduction | Task 1 | Task 2 | Task 3 | Task 4 | Task 5 | Conclusion


In this webquest you are going to learn some interesting facts about butterflies. You will explore the life cycle of butterflies, and learn a little about their anatomy. We will look at what makes a moth different from a butterfly, and even how to design a butterfly garden. Hopefully, by the end of this you will be a butterfly expert and will have the skills to raise your own beautiful butterflies!

Task 1 - Vocabulary

Review the list of vocabulary below. Try reading the words out loud to help you pronounce them properly.
  1. Caterpillar: the larval stage of a butterfly or moth
  2. Chrysalis: the hard shell covering the pupa; shaped like an upside down teardrop
  3. Larva: the second stage of metamorphosis, during which an insect is wormlike and has new wings
  4. Pupa: the third stage of metamorphosis; encased by a chrysalis
  5. Metamorphosis: a series of developmental stages often marked by body changes
  6. Proboscis: a tube-like, flexible "tongue" that butterflies and moths use to sip their liquid food

Go to this website and look over "What Is a Butterfly" for a preview of the different activities in this web quest, and also just for some fun trivia facts.

Task 2

Step One:

Take a look at this website and read about the life cycle of the butterfly. Be sure to click on the links at the top and go through each page Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult. Pay attention to the pictures and diagrams.

Then draw a flowchart (pictures in order of events) of your own to illustrate the stages of the lifecycle. Remember to label and color it.

Step Two:

Read through this webpage about butterfly anatomy.

Be sure to click on the Blue links at the top to read about the Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult Anatomy. Then print out, fill in, and color this worksheet.

Task 3 - Moth v. Butterfly

Take a look at the chart on this webpage it describes the differences between moths and butterflies

This website contains some pictures of the differences between moths and butterflies.

Once you have looked over these two pages construct a Venn diagram for moths and butterflies. What do the have in common? What does one have that the other does not?

Task 4 - Host v. Nectar

Look at this webpage and read about the difference between a host plant and a nectar plant. Be sure to look over the list at the bottom of the page of different kinds of plants and what butterflies they attract.

Think about a design for a butterfly garden. What would it include and why? Use your imagination and what you have learned to draw out your own design for a butterfly garden. What shape would you make it? How big would it be? What are some butterflies you would like to see in your garden? Name some of the plants you would need to do this, mane sure you have at least one host and one nectar plant. What is one thing you cannot have in your garden and why?

You can use this website to see a chart of some different butterflies, and what they eat click on the name to see a picture of one you like.

Task 5 - Be an Investigator


There are 12 questions - one for each tile.  Click on one of the blanks to jump to that question.  Answer it correctly and a piece of the puzzle will be revealed.  When you have answered all of the questions correctly, the jumbled puzzle tiles will form a picture.  Click on the link below the completed picture to view it in another window.

Question 1Question 2Question 3Question 4
Question 5Question 6Question 7Question 8
Question 9Question 10Question 11Question 12

View the final picture!

Trivia Questions
  1. How many legs does a butterfly have?

  2. How many wings does a butterfly have?

  3. Do butterflies undergo complete or incomplete metamorphosis?

  4. What is the name of a butterfly's sipping tube that can coil and uncoil?
    Shoe String
    Pro Uno
    Drink Straw

  5. Are butterfly wings covered by feathers, or scales?

  6. What is the name of the tough outer covering of insects' bodies?

  7. Do moths have feathery antennae ?

  8. In which stage of a butterfly's life cycle do the wings develop?

  9. Do most butterflies fly during the day or at night?

  10. What do most caterpillars eat?

  11. What do most butterflies eat?

  12. How many stages are there in a butterfly's life cycle?

So, you have this beautiful butterfly in your net, when you discover that SHE is about to lay eggs!! You need to find out what kind of butterfly you have so that you can raise it's young.

On this website is a dichotomous key for butterflies. It is a chart that separates butterflies by their characteristics, and then by asking us yes or no questions it can determine the kind of butterfly you are looking for.

Dichotomous Key - A dichotomous key is a method for determining the identity of something (like a butterfly, a plant, or a rock) by going through a series of choices that lead the user to the correct name of the item. At each step of the process, the user is given two choices; each alternative leads to another questions until the identification is completed. For example, a question in a dichotomous key for trees might be something like, "Does it have flat or needle-like leaves?" Dichotomous means "divided in two parts".

Answer yes or no to the pictures of butterflies using the grey buttons at the top of the page. Once you have found the butterfly that matches the picture, do some research on it.

Here are some good links to look at. Find out what it eats? Where it lives? How long does it take to complete the life cycles? Find some pictures of what it will look like in its different stages.

Something very unique about the monarch is the fact that it migrates, read more about that here.


Great Job! I hope you learned a lot about butterflies.

Here is a link to some poems written by kids about butterflies for you to read and think about. Maybe if you feel like it, you can write one of your own, or draw a picture of butterfly you saw today, or just make one up.

Donna Patterson