Science Project: Life-Cycle of a butterfly

Kabir and I plan to do a few fun science projects this school year. Our first project was to watch the life-cycle of a butterfly. We bought live caterpillars and watched them grow to cocoons and then butterfly. Finally, we released the butterflies in our backyard. Kabir kept a daily journal.

Kabir’s Journal (I copied it exactly but I couldn’t copy his drawings):

July 17, 2013 – Day 1
4 baby caterpillars born.
3 move.
Some cobweb in jar.
1 1/2 inches long.

July 18, 2013 – Day 2
Their names: Beauty, Sunlight, Dolphin, Light
3 on top, one on the ground.
Silky threads inside.
2 caterpillars move.

July 19, 2013 – Day 3
3 attached to the top.
Two have shed their exoskeleton and are becoming chrysalides.
1 has not shed his exoskeleton yet.
The one at the bottom may be dead or is shedding its exoskeleton on the ground.
3/4 inch long chrysalides.

3 Chrysalides attached to top
3 Chrysalides attached to top

July 20 – Day 4
4th one became chrysalide too.

July 21 – Day 5
Transferred three that were attached to the paper to butterfly habitat.
The one on the ground: We put a paper towel at the bottom of the butterfly habitat, then we picked up the one on the ground and put it on the paper towel in the butterfly habitat.
And we found another tiny little caterpillar. It even moved!
1/2 inch long.

July 22 – Day 6
No change.

July 23 – Day 7
No change, but new caterpillar looks little longer.

July 24 – Day 8
Caterpillar is little fatter and now is 3/4 inch.


July 25 – Day 9
No change for pupae, but baby caterpillar is even fatter and longer: 1 inch long.

July 26 – Day 10
Three butterflies have emerged!
One is still in cocoon.
WE can see red meconium.
The wings seem weak for two butterflies, so we will wait for two hours to feed them.
Caterpillar is little fatter.

To feed them, we took a tulip and with a pipette we sprinkled some nectar on it. Then we put the tulip in our butterfly habitat. But all the nectar dripped off. So we dipped a paper towel in the nectar and we put it in the butterfly habitat.
Later we added a piece of orange to the butterfly habitat.

July 27 – Day 11
We added a fresh paper towel soaked in nectar, and the fourth butterfly emerged from its cocoon while we were standing there.
One of the butterflies is drinking. Hopefully he is enjoying.
We added a slice of watermelon.
Caterpillar: No change.

July 29 – Day 12
We took out the old paper towel and put a new fresh one soaked in nectar.
All four butterflies are getting active and we can see them enjoying.
Caterpillar is 1 1/4 inch.
The food in the bowl has lessened.

We released the butterflies in the evening.

July 30 – Day 13
The caterpillar is on one side of the jar.

July 31 – Day 14
We saw the caterpillar eat.

August 1 – Day 15
The caterpillar has moved.

August 2 – Day 16
The caterpillar might be dead, because he hasn’t moved at all.
After a few hours, the caterpillar moved.

August 3 – Day 17
No change.

August 4 – Day 19

August 5 – Day 20
It is moving.

August 6 – Day 21
No change.

August 7 – Day 22
Either dead or forming cocoon.

August 8 – Day 23
The caterpillar is dead.