• Elementary Science Grade 2 Unit 3

    Subject:  Science   
    Grade:  2
    Timeline: 12 weeks
    Unit Title:  Animal Life Cycle

    Unit Overview: 
    In this unit students investigate the life cycle of the Painted Lady Butterfly. Students observe, describe, and record the changes of the organisms life cycle. They identify that organisms change their form and behaviors as part of their life cycles.  They identify the structures of the caterpillar and the butterfly, and how these structures help the organism survive.  Students identify characteristics that appear in both parents and offspring.

    Unit Objectives:
    The objectives of this unit are to apply the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Crosscutting Concepts that bridge disciplinary boundaries, uniting core ideas throughout the fields of science and engineering.
    Patterns:  Patterns in the natural world can be observed. 
    Structure and Function:  The shape and stability of structure of natural and designed objects are related to their function(s).
    Stability and Change:  Things may change slowly or rapidly.
    Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World:  Scientists study the natural and material world.

    Focus Standards:

    PSSA Eligible Content:
    S4.A.3.3.1:  Identify and describe observable patterns.
    S4.A.3.3.2:  Predict future conditions/events based on observable patterns.
    S4.B.1.1.1:  Identify life processes of living things.
    S4.B.1.1.2:  Compare similar functions of external characteristics of organisims.
    S4.B.1.1.3:  Describe basic need of plants and animals.
    S4.B.1.1.5:  Describe the life cycles of different organisms.
    S4.B.2.1.2:  Explain how specific adaptations can help a living organism survive.
    S4.B.2.2:     Identify that characteristics are inherited and, thus, offspring closely resemble their parents.
    NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:
    LS3.A: Inheritance of Traits. Young animals are very much, but not exactly, like their parents.
    LS3.B: Variation of Traits. Young Individuals of the same kind of plant or animal are recognizable as similar but can also vary in many ways.
    LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans. There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water.

    Concepts - Students will know:
    • plants and animals have specific growth patterns.
    • that plants and animals closely resemble their parents.
    Competencies - Students will be able to:
    • explain that caterpillars represent one stage of a butterflies life cycle.
    • observe and learn that butterflies form and emerge from a chrysalis.
    • identify the structures of a butterfly that provide means for essential life functions.
    • illustrate life cycles for various animals (e.g. insects, amphibians, mammals).
    • illustrate life cycles for various plants (e.g. beans, sunflowers, Brassica).
    • identify characteristics that appear in both parents and offspring.
    • identify physical characteristics that differ between groups of animals and/or plants (e.g. between guppies and goldfish, or carnivores and herbivores).

    Formative Assessments:
    • Pre-assessment
    • Note-booking
    • Teacher observations
    • Student sheets
    Summative Assessments:
    • Notebooking with rubric
    • Post-assessment

    Elements of Instruction:
    Asking Questions and Defining Problems:

    Students asking questions and defining problems in K-2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple descriptive questions.

    • Students ask questions based on observations to find more information about the natural and/or designed world.
    • Students define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.


    Planning and Carrying Out Investigations:

    Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in K-2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple investigations based on fair tests, which provide data to support explanations or design solutions.

    • Students make observations to collect data which can be used to make comparisons.
    Analyzing and Interpreting Data:

    Analyzing data in K-2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to collecting, recording, and sharing observations.

    • Students analyze data from tests of an object or tool to determine if it works as intended.

    Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions:

    Constructing explanations and designing solutions in K-2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to the use of evidence and ideas in constructing evidence-based accounts of natural phenomena and designing solutions.

    • Students make observations (first hand or from media) to construct an evidence-based account for natural phenomena.
    Engaging in Argument from Evidence:

    Engaging in argument from evidence in K-2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to comparing ideas and representations about the natural and designed world.

    • Students construct an argument with evidence to support a claim.
    Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information:

    Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K-2 builds on prior experiences and uses observations and texts to communicate new information.

    • Students obtain information using various texts, test features, and other media that will be useful in answering scientific questions. 

    Each lesson has differentiation options for each portion of the lesson.  Options may be found in each lesson.
    • Use word walls and flip charts
    • Structured notebooks
    • Differentiated grouping
    • Whole group discussions


    • Create a class terrarium with the extra caterpillars.
    • Walk around the schoolyard or neighborhood looking for plants the caterpillars may eat (thistle, Rose of Sharon, Sage, Dandelion, etc.).

    Interdisciplinary Connections:
    • Creative writing: Write about the arrival of the caterpillars and potential concerns or problems that may arise. (ELA)
    • Read books about caterpillars (ELA)
    • Research the history and production of silk (Social Studies)
    • Read about other animal life cycles (ELA)
    • Create a class graph of the caterpillar's average measurements (Math)
    • Predict when the caterpillar will spin its crysalis or emerge (Math)
    • Create models of caterpillars or butterflies (Art)

    Additional Resources / Games:
    • The Life Cycle of the Butterfly Class Set
    • Animals and Their Adaptations Class Copy
    • Firefly at Stonybrook Farm Class Copy