Plants and butterflies ... they coexist in nature. Isn’t it time they were brought together in the classroom?

How an insect gets from a tiny egg to an adult butterfly is a fascinating process. The butterfly life cycle investigation begins with eggs. From day one, students are making observations, predictions, collecting data and asking questions about the life cycle. Once the eggs have hatched, the biology of this organism will unfold, challenging students to understand not only the various life cycle stages of the organism but also how this organism interacts with plants (brassicas) and other components of its environment. Each stage of the butterfly’s development provides students with opportunities for observations, ideas, analysis, experimentation and creative communication. Through raising butterflies plant material and understanding its life cycle, the foundation is set for students to launch into experimentation and inquiry-based learning.

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Brassica and Butterfly

Investigating Life with the Cabbage White Butterfly and Brassicas in the Classroom

Materials developed for the "Brassica and Butterfly" workshops (Summer/Fall 2002, funded by NASA). Includes life cycle information, rearing instructions, activities for the classroom, and troubleshooting.

Life in Balance

Exploring the Tandem Life Cycles of Brassica Butterflies and Wisconsin Fast Plants®

In this activity, students will have the opportunity to witness first-hand the dynamic relationship between Brassica Butterflies and Wisconsin Fast Plants®. Students are responsible for tending the butterflies and plants throughout the entire life cycles, while they explore and explain the changes that each organism goes through.

A "Life in Balance" kit is available from Carolina Biological Supply Company.

Brassica Butterfly Care Instructions

All biological organisms require care and attention. Brassica Butterflies are easy to rear, with minimal care. These Care Instructions are designed to help you successfully rear an entire life cycle of Brassica Butterflies, with or without Wisconsin Fast Plants®.

Variations in temperature, humidity, or photoperiod may affect the length of the life cycle. At the end of the life cycle, the eggs can be used to rear more generations of Brassica Butterflies.

Other Images

Eggs Hatching
Close up of a Brassica Butterfly eggs on a leaf hatching.
When molting, larvae seek a dry site, weave a fine carpet of silk, attach to it, lie quietly for several hours, then crack and crawl out of their exoskeleton.
During the first 24 hours, the soft chrysalis hardens and becomes a translucent brown or almost black color.
An emerging Brassica Butterfly.
Close up of a feeding Brassica Butterfly.
Two Brassica Butterflies engaged in the mating process.
An example of a buttefly laying eggs.
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