Engage your students in learning the parts of a butterfly through a dress-up activity. Begin with the shirt that has been cut in the back to allow the volunteer student to quickly wear it over any other clothing. Ask students what else is needed to make the student become a butterfly. Responses may include: six legs, antennae, compound eyes, proboscis/tongue, head, thorax and abdomen.
To make your dress-up outfit try the following:
- Six velcro legs including one pair that may act as gloves (actually socks) to show tongues (red felt) on the hands that represent how butterflies can taste with their feet and determine if a plant is their host plant.
- Antennae (head band) with noses (from party store glasses) attached with pipe cleaners because butterflies use their antennae as a sensory organ to smell the world around them.
- Spherical compound eyes to represent how insects see though many tiny microscopic lenses that produce a mosaic view rather than one clear picture as we do. (Made from clown size glasses, a foam ball and craft eyes.)
- Proboscis or tongue that remains coiled when not in use but uncoils when nectar is available. (blow-out from party store)
- Set of Butterfly wings including forewings and hindwings (from party store).
- And don’t forget the three body parts of an insect, the head, thorax and abdomen (made from foam board).
David Alexander is author of the Buzz Into Action & Hop Into Action Science Curricula. He specializes in making nature accessible to people and wildlife. You can follow him at www.natureintoaction.com