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News & AwardsNational Science Teachers Association Review for “Caterpillar to Butterfly”

August, 2011  |  National Science Teachers Association

To teachers of young children, integration comes naturally. Their students find science as easy as play. But truly integrated audiovisual support is often hard to find. This DVD combines science, music, and dance to help children appreciate the life cycle of a butterfly; it would be appreciated by any preschool or primary teacher. The video combines beautiful illustrations of eight stages in the life cycle of a monarch butterfly with clear directions for movement and dance. The natural world comes to life—not only for kinesthetic learners but for every young child. Even adults will pause to consider the complexity of this common insect’s “dance.”

The producers of the program are obviously well acquainted with the logistics of preschool and primary classrooms. The program begins with a background section for parents and teachers. The student sections model appropriate instruction. For example, they remind students to look for safe places for their movement experiments and stop the video at appropriate times for teacher direction.

The program is keyed to National Science Education Standards in life science as well as standards in music and dance. Eight vocabulary words are introduced. Activities such as drawing story maps support the movement exercises, and four basic reflection questions encourage discussion. The accompanying music evokes the imagination and supports the building of concepts.

The designers recommend at least four 35-minute periods for the activities that are directly referenced on the DVD. It’s easy to imagine how the unit could last much longer if the teacher wanted it to, with students moving to a butterfly center in the classroom, observing a butterfly garden, or taking a nature walk after they complete the program. This program is both unique and valuable for children at this level. Because the content on life cycles is included in almost every state and local primary curriculum, it has wide applicability. The complete directions and the flexibility of the dance component contribute to the comfort that teachers will have using it.

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