Carolyn D. McGee and Carolyn J. McBride


Pretty One!

This lesson was created as a part of the SMART website and is hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology

Lesson 1

They walk, crawl, and fly all over the world. There are more of them than any other kind of animal on earth! And, they have been around for over 350 million years!

What are they?

They are insects.

What makes an insect an insect?

For one thing it has a special body. All insects have a hard shell on the outside called an exoskeleton. The shell protects the little insects just like metal armor protects a knight. An insect's body has three parts. It has a head, a middle section called a thorax, and an abdomen.

Where do insects live?

Insects live in the air, on the ground, under rocks, in trees, in and around water, and some even live together in colonies and hives.

Some helpful vocabulary words:

Head                        Chrysalis                    Proboscis                    Nectar

Abdomen                 Compound                  Antennae                    Caterpillar

Thorax                    Metamorphosis           Exoskeleton

 Click on this link to find a link to a dictionary to help you define the vocabulary words. Scroll down the page and you will find the words, "Illustrated Butterfly Dictionary." Click on this link and begin to define the vocabulary words.

How does an insect grow up?

All insects hatch from eggs. As they grow, they get bigger and bigger, and begin to look more like their parents. The change that insects go through from egg to adult is called metamorphosis. The word metamorphosis means, "changes shape." There are many kinds of metamorphosis. Some insects change by just growing bigger. Others grow wings. But there are some insects, such as butterflies, that change so much that the adult looks nothing like the youth.

Click on this hyperlink and you will visit a website and visit Ms. Gray's classroom. Here you will  find photos that show the stages of metamorphosis of a Painted Lady butterfly from the moment it arrives as larva, until it emerges as an adult butterfly. You may click on the pictures in the series to enlarge them.


 Read these descriptive characteristics of insects:

All insects have 6 legs.

All insects have 3 body parts: The head, abdomen, and the thorax.

All winged insects have 4 wings.

All insects have 2 antennae.

Most insects have two kinds of eyes; big ones on the side of the head, and little ones in the middle of the head. (These are called compound eyes.)

An insect does not have a skeleton, or bones on the inside. It has a hard covering on the outside called the exoskeleton.

Identify the pictures below as insects or non- insects. What are the identifying characteristics that make them insects?

    animated gifs                Spidey        Pretty Fish         animated gif of starfish                                                                                    


    Butterflies are beautiful insects. The body of a butterfly is long and slender. They have knobs at the ends of their antennae, which are used for smelling. Their wings are covered with tiny scales that give their wings their color. All butterflies hatch as caterpillars, which look like worms. The butterflies change to adult butterflies in a chrysalis, or paper-like case.

    Butterflies are found everywhere. They live on mountains and in deserts. As caterpillars, they eat leaves and fruit, often damaging crops. As butterflies, they cannot bite or chew. For food, they, they drink nectar, the sugary liquid from flowers. In order to do this, they stretch out straw-like tubes called proboscis and suck the nectar from the flowers. butterflies fly only during the day. When resting, they fold their wings straight up.


Can you answer these questions?

1. Describe the proboscis. What is the function of the proboscis?

2. Do you think a butterfly can survive without the proboscis? Why or why not?

3. What are antennae? Where are they located?

4. Where do the wings of butterflies get their color?

Painted Lady Butterfly Printout Activity:

Visit the website below and follow these instructions:

1. Click on the hyperlink for Painted Lady activities

2. Read the descriptions of the body parts of the Painted Lady.

3. Print out the diagram of the Painted Lady.

4. Color the diagram according to the instructions.

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