2nd Grade Science Lesson Plan

Animal Life Cycle

By: Charity Reilly, TJ Scott, Stephanie Collett



National Standards:



Georgia Science Performance Standards:

       S2L1. Students will investigate the life cycles of different living organisms.

a.       Determine the sequence of the life cycle of common animals in your area: a mammal such as a cat or dog or classroom pet, a bird such as a chicken, an amphibian such as a frog, and an insect such as a butterfly.

       S2CS5. Students will communicate scientific ideas and activities clearly.

b.      Draw pictures, grade level appropriate, that correctly portray features of the thing being described.


Local Science Performance Standards:

      (Same as Georgia Science Performance Standards)



      Georgia Language Arts Performance Standards:

      ELA2R3. The student acquires and uses grade-level words to communicate effectively. The student

a.       Reads a variety of text and uses new words in oral and written language.

d.   Determines the meaning of unknown words on the basis of context.


     ELA2W1. The student begins to demonstrate competency in the writing process. The student

a.       Uses traditional organization patterns for conveying information (e.g., chronological order,    similarity and difference, answering questions.


       ELA2LSV1. The student uses oral and visual strategies to communicate. The student

a. Interprets information presented and seeks clarification when needed.

b. Begins to use oral language for different purposes: to information to persuade, and to entertain.

d. Listens to and views a variety of media to acquire information.

e. Increases vocabulary to reflect a growing range of interests and knowledge.


Local Language Arts Performance Standards:

      (Same as Georgia Language Arts Performance Standards)












      Essential Question: How does an animal change and grow throughout a life cycle?

                                         How does a living thing go through a life cycle?

                                         How are life cycles different between organisms?


Knowledge:  All animals have a life cycle.


·         Skills: Students will collaboratively explore life cycle focusing on insect life cycles through a variety of multi-leveled assessment activity options.

·         Students will individually demonstrate an understanding of insect life cycles and acknowledge the various types of animal life cycles through completing a life cycle graphic organizer or sequencing cards.




http://urbanext.illinois.edu/insects/index.cfm : This is a web activity which allows children to discover the world of insects with C.P Ant.

http://www.chicagochildrensmuseum.org/Activities_InsectInvest.pdf : This provides a list of vocabulary associated with the life cycle of insects which will be introduced and reviewed with the class.

http://player.discoveryeducation.com/index.cfm?guidAssetId=53F4F60C-99B6-4E0B-85C4-B6491BFF8137&blnFromSearch=1&productcode=US : This is a video from GPB.org’s Discovery Streaming detailing the life cycle of insects. Children learn that living things grow and change. They learn to compare animal parents and babies. They see that some animal babies do not look like their parents. From tadpole to frog, egg to chicken, caterpillar to butterfly, and puppy to dog; students are introduced to, and learn the stages of, the life cycles of animals.

http://www.uen.org/lessonplan/preview?lpid=702  This website provides additional resources and suggestions to supplement the insect life cycle lesson plan (songs, books, etc.) 

http://www.neok12.com/Metamorphosis.htm Several short videos of various metamorphosis.

http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/tdc02.sci.life.cyc.metamorph/ This is a video demonstrating the life cycles of frogs, butterflies, and nymphs (dragonflies).




Variety of Age-Appropriate Magazines

The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle




In order to activate student prior knowledge, the teacher will have a discussion with students about the different bugs they have encountered in their everyday environments. The teacher will introduce the concept of an insect using some of the vocabulary that they will come across during this lesson by projecting “Let’s Talk About Insects” http://urbanext.illinois.edu/insects/index.cfm on the smart board. Each student will then start a K-W-L chart demonstrating any knowledge of insects. They will be asked what they currently know about insects and what they would like to learn about insects.                                                                                           




Differentiation strategy used: Tiered Assignments and Cluster Grouping


Differentiated element used (check all that apply):

_x_  content

__  process

_x_  product

__  learning environment




Teacher will show the Animal Life Cycle video http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/tdc02.sci.life.cyc.metamorph/, specifically the segment on insects providing for student interaction and vocabulary acquisition. The teacher will start an interactive discussion with the class about the video’s content by asking the following open-ended questions:

1.      What new words did you hear in the video?

2.      What do you think the word “metamorphosis” means as used in the video?           

3.      What do you think the difference is between simple and complete metamorphosis is?

The teacher will clarify that many insects go through simply or complete metamorphosis. Complete metamorphosis is marked by significant changes in the shape and structure of the insect. To illustrate an insect that undergoes complete metamorphosis, the teacher will read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.                                                                                                                                                                                   


Divide children into groups of 4 based on their pre-assessed level of readiness.  The groups will be instructed to create a presentation for the class on the life cycle of their insect. The groups will be instructed to go to the following website http://www.neok12.com/Metamorphosis.htm  in order to choose their group’s insect and the group will need to watch the video associated with their insect. Once the video has been viewed, the groups will be able to complete the insect life cycle activity, also included on this website.


The groups will decide if they would like to create an Eposter (selecting pictures from the above referenced website) being careful to cite sources as needed, a PowerPoint using Clipart and drawing tools, or a paper poster using pre-selected pictures based on content and age-appropriateness.


      As the students are working on their presentation, the teacher will travel around the room monitoring and   scaffolding students as needed. The teacher will ask students why did they choose that insect’s life cycle and why did you include this information or picture?

Once completed, the groups will present their insect’s life cycle to the class making sure to include all stages of metamorphosis and new vocabulary. The groups are presenting as the expert on their life cycle and will allow for question and answer from classmates. After all presentations have been concluded, the teacher will facilitate a discussion about the similarities and differences among the various life cycles.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        







Each student will complete either a life cycle graphic organizer or life cycle sequencing cards which will indicate that they are familiar with the life cycle of their chosen insect. The student will also understand that all organisms have life cycles and there are many different types of life cycles. Once this graphic organizer is completed, the student will give a brief description, either written or verbal demonstrating they understand the life cycle of their insect.  The students who choose to write will be asked to use their best handwriting, complete sentences, good spelling, correct capitalization, and correct punctuation.


Post-Assessment:  The Post-Assessment activity, the Graphic Organizer or the Sequencing Cards, will be evaluated and assessed using The Life Cycle rubric.


Student Self-Assessment: Each student will complete the K-W-L chart  where they will share something they learned as a result of the lesson, evaluate the whether or not they enjoyed the lesson, and indicate whether or not they learned something new as a result of the lesson.  The K-W-L Chart will also be assessed using The Life Cycle Rubric.




Animal Life Cycle Rubric







The student demonstrates complete understanding of the life cycle in sequence, and with many details.

The student demonstrates a basic understanding of the life cycle in sequence with some details.

The student demonstrates some understanding of the life cycle, but provides little details, sequence may be inaccurate.

The student does not understand the life cycle, with few details and out of sequence.


Illustrations show detail and accuracy of the life cycle.

Illustrations show accuracy, but with limited detail.

Illustrations are mostly accurate, little detail.

Illustrations are inaccurate, no detail.


Parts of the life cycle are clearly labeled and correctly correspond.

Most of the parts of the cycle are labeled and correctly correspond.

Some of the parts of the life cycle are labeled, and correctly correspond.

Parts of the life cycle are not labeled.




Complete Sentences

Obvious attention to neatness and care are evident. Uses complete sentences and less than  2 spelling errors.

Some attention to neatness and care are shown. Mostly uses complete sentences and less than 3 spelling errors.

Little attention to neatness and care. The work may look sloppy. Uses few complete sentences and contains more than 4 spelling errors  

No attention to neatness and care. The work is sloppy and looks hurried. Uses mostly incomplete sentences and contains many spelling errors.