Butterfly season where we live in Dallas is in the fall and mid-spring. Monarch butterflies pass right through Dallas when they fly south for the winter and north for warmer temperatures.
We’ll often see tons of colorful Monarch butterflies starting in the beginning of April. For this spring science experiment, we made a 3D butterfly model of a Monarch butterfly. It’s the perfect addition to your spring STEM activities!
If you want to learn how to make a 3D butterfly model, keep reading!
Monkey has always loved butterflies, so in preparation for Texas Monarch season this year, we decided to do mini STEM units on Monarch butterflies and butterfly science.
How to Make a Butterfly Model for a School Project
Follow along to learn how to make your very own 3D butterfly model!
What are Butterfly STEM Activities?
Butterfly STEM activities are a fun way to bring the concepts of butterfly science to life. There are a lot of reasons to do hands-on science experiments with kids, but you don’t ever have to do seasonal science experiments.
A spring science experiment is simply a science experiment that focuses on spring topics, typically botany, insect science, biology, flower science, and animal science. Kids naturally love learning about the world around them and there is no better time for that then spring!
Why Make a Butterfly Model?
By the time spring rolls around, kids are ready for a break. They want to get outdoors and explore and are ready for summer break already.
When you introduce butterfly STEM challenges into the classroom during the spring season, you give kids a chance to get outdoors, feel the change in the weather, and learn a little bit about what happens to the earth during the spring season.
Spring is a wonderful time to explore seed science, outdoor science, animal science, insects, and a lot more!
Monarch Butterfly Facts for Kids
Monkey examined Monarch diagrams to determine that just like all butterflies, Monarch butterflies have a head, compound eyes, a thorax, an abdomen, six legs, a proboscis, and four wings.
We studied the structure of the wings and read about the diet, life cycle, and migration patterns.
I asked questions about why Monkey thought butterflies ended up with the body style, parts, and wing patterns that they did to give her some critical thinking practice during our project.
Monkey said she wants to plant milkweed in our patio garden to attract Monarchs this spring, so we’ll see how that goes!
What you need for your butterfly model for school project:
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- Drinking straws
- Pom poms
- Cardstock paper in white, black, and orange
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
How to Make a 3D Butterfly Out of Paper
After completing our butterfly science study, we decided to make a 3D model of a Monarch butterfly. We only used craft supplies that we had on hand, so our colors aren’t quite accurate, but Monkey completed the design on her own with little help from me.
We used this page from Encyclopedia Britannica Kids as a diagram for our 3D butterfly model.
Monarch Butterfly Model Directions
We created our butterfly science model by using the diagram as a guide. We wanted our Monarch butterfly to have all of the necessary parts and be somewhat realistic in scale.
I think our version ended up being about twice as large as a standard Monarch, but that’s OK.
First, Monkey constructed the body from two large and one medium-sized pom poms. We used hot glue for the pom poms to speed drying time.
Next, she cut legs, the antenna, and the proboscis from drinking straws. Monarch butterflies have four long legs and two short, so we made sure to adjust our leg length. We attached these with hot glue.
I helped her cut the wings from cardstock paper. We ended up layering orange over the black paper, then cutting out little pieces of white paper to make the white spots on the edge of the Monarch’s wings.
We built the wings before gluing them to the butterflies body.
When the Monarchs show up this spring, we’ll be ready armed with our new butterfly science knowledge!