Skip to main content
Support - EBSCO Help

Science - Butterflies & Camouflage


Designed for the elementary school classroom (Grade 1), this learning activity teaches students about butterflies and the environment in which they thrive. Students will explore the scientific thematic concept of camouflage and search for images using the Primary Search database in EBSCOhost or Explora.

Title: Beautiful Butterflies: Now You See Them, Now You Don’t!

Audience: Grade 1

Curriculum Standards

English Language Arts Standards » Reading: Informational Text » Grade 1

Key Ideas and Details:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.1: Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

Craft and Structure:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.4: Ask and answer questions to help determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases in a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.7: Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.10: With prompting and support, read informational texts appropriately complex for grade 1.

English Language Arts Standards » Speaking & Listening » Grade 1

Comprehension and Collaboration:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.1: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.1.a: Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.1.b: Build on others' talk in conversations by responding to the comments of others through multiple exchanges.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.1.c: Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion.

English Language Arts Standards » Language » Grade 1

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.


  • Students will learn about camouflage.
  • Students will examine how butterflies use camouflage to survive.


  • Markers, crayons or construction paper
  • Computer(s) with access to articles in EBSCO’s Primary Search database via EBSCOhost or Explora
  • Articles:
    • “On the Wings of a Butterfly,” Ranger Rick, May99, Lexile 710, AN 1735910
    • “All Kinds of Butterflies,” Scholastic News, May/June 2009, Lexile 480, AN 39253084
  • Optional: a toy butterfly, or florist’s cellophane, pipe cleaners, glue gun to make butterflies


  • Butterfly: An insect with four wings and a narrow body. The wings are usually colorful. Butterflies fly mainly in the daytime.
  • Moth: A flying insect that is usually active at night and has feathery antennas. A moth looks like a butterfly but usually has a bigger body.
  • Caterpillar: The worm-like larva of a moth or butterfly that has hatched from its egg. A caterpillar's body can be covered with hair or bristles.
  • Species: Different kinds of the same animal.
  • Camouflage: The disguise that makes a person, animal, or thing look like what is around them.


  1. Introduce the concept: Place butterfly shapes around the room so that the shapes blend into background. Do not hide the shapes. They should be in plain sight. Make some butterflies easier to see than others so that students can discuss the differences. Ask if students notice anything different around the room. Instruct them to walk around the room and count to themselves the number of butterflies they see. Ask for a tally. You can award correct tallies with a prize.
  2. When the students have discovered the camouflaged butterflies, introduce camouflage as a vocabulary term. Explain that camouflage is a kind of color pattern on a butterfly that helps it blend in with its environment, helping it to hide from other animals or insects. Ask students if they have seen butterflies in nature. Discuss their observations.
  3. Introduce the other vocabulary words, then distribute copies of the article “On the Wings of a Butterfly” to each student.
  4. Ask students to read the article (or selections from it), and put a check mark in the margin anywhere they read about an example of butterfly camouflage. Students can also circle new vocabulary words, identify the main idea, and write questions about the article.
  5. Students can also search for photographs of butterflies in Primary Search, using the Images or Image Collection icon at the top of the search screen.
  6. To reinforce these concepts, distribute copies of the article “All Kinds of Butterflies,” read aloud, and then have students work in pairs or groups to complete the exercises.