Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Moths and Butterflies - Another Lesson in Differences

Just last week, my son spotted a winged insect flitting across our lawn. “Look, Mom, a butterfly!” he announced. “Actually, I think it’s a moth,” I said. He looked at me with his eyes all filled with mystery and said, “How do you know?” Hmmmm … how DID I know?

Luckily, our library had the answer. I checked out What’s the Difference Between a Butterfly and a Moth? written by Robin Michal Koontz and illustrated by Bandelin-Dacey.

This wasn’t the first time we’d checked out one of the books in this “What’s the Difference…?” series (check out our
frogs and toads activity), so our expectations were high. We weren’t disappointed.

The book provides a concise comparison of butterflies and moths, highlighting both their similarities and differences. We learned a ton and both oogled over the breathtaking painted illustrations in the book. Even my youngest son (a toddler) pointed and exclaimed, “Look it!” every time we turned a page.

When we were done reading, I gave my oldest son a venn diagram and pencil. I’m not going to lie. After two weeks of no school, igniting the ambition to write was a bit of a challenge.

Download a PDF of the moths and butterflies venn diagram I made here.

The good news, though, is that he remembered much of what we’d read and could fill most of it out from memory, only needing to refer to the book for spelling terms like diurnal (awake and active during the day) and nocturnal (awake and active at night).

Under “both” in the diagram, he wrote “fly, have wings and proboscis.” In each of the wings he recorded the different types of casings they form before transforming from a caterpillar (i.e. butterflies make a chrysalis, moths make a cocoon), their different coloring, when they are active, and the position of their wings when they land.

We both loved learning about these amazing creatures. Next time someone asks my son what the difference is, he can refer back to his venn diagram ... and I can too!


  1. Love your ideas...thanks so much for sharing them. You are so very creative with your little boy.

  2. Excellent way to create a learning moment! I'll have to look for that book series - thanks for sharing.

  3. What a wonderful way to harness a learning opportunity. The book looks lovely too. Thank you for linking up to our Keeping it Real: non-fiction reading adventure :-)

  4. Cute idea! Thanks for sharing the PDF. I'm saving it for when I'm doing a butterfly unit for my daughters Kindergarten year.

  5. How fun! I think I need to look for those books. :-)
    Thanks for linking to my Super Link Party! :-)

  6. What a cute Venn! What a great way to share what they have learned. I love it.

    Thank you for linking to Read.Explore.Learn.

  7. This is great! I haven't seen those books but we are heading to the library on Friday. I'll have to see if ours has them. Thanks for sharing at our Pinteresting Party.

  8. What a great lesson! We will definitely be checking out that book. Thanks for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  9. Hi! Stopping by to let you know that I featured your venn diagram at the Sunday Showcase (there are 5 new co-hosts!)! Hope to see you again this week! Thanks for sharing!

  10. That printable is way too cute! Thanks for sharing on Science Sunday!