In the Classroom: Balancing Butterflies

Anne Phillips subbed for a 2nd grade class at Burnsville Elementary School. Students had been studying life cycles and butterflies, so she designed a class about monarch butterflies. They started by discussing the life cycle and migration of monarch butterflies. Students were impressed with how something so small and fragile could travel so far. They mapped out how long it would take a human to make the same trip in a car.

Then she gave students a butterfly outline on watercolor paper and some thinned black paint. They placed a few small drops of paint along the body of the butterfly and used a straw to blow the paint in unique lines and patterns on the wings.

After the paint dried they cut out and colored the butterflies before placing pennies on the undersides of the wings. The weight of the pennies allowed the butterflies to balance on the tip of almost anything. The children had fun balancing them on the tips of pencils, the toes of their shoes, fingertips, and even their noses.

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Penland School of Crafts
NC Arts Council
Community Foundation of Western NC

Teaching Artists

Anne Phillips
Pat Benard

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