The first graders at Fi’s school all have to do an animal project. They get to pick the animal they want to learn about and then have to research it, write a few sentences and answer some specific questions like “is it endangered” etc. Then, working with their families, they have to make a model of their animal (which of course was the part I was most excited about-although I do like looking for books on animals at the library-which is good since that’s also my job!).
So Miss Fiona-the girly girl extraordinaire, of course picked butterfly. She narrowed it down to one called a Queen Alexandra Butterfly after looking through pictures in a butterfly guide book. I think, besides the butterfly’s name, she liked that there was a life size picture of it and that it’s a full 11 inches wide when the wings are open. One of the girls in her class wanted to make a life sized porcupine for her animal project so Fiona was excited to make her butterfly life sized as well.
She told me she wanted to make the butterfly flying over a flower and I suggested attaching the flower to a base of some sort to make a more stable support. I think Fiona was picturing holding a flower on a stick with one hand and the butterfly on a stick in the other hand. But they needed to put these animals on display in the hallway for a couple weeks. In the end we decided on a paper mache tree trunk with the butterfly hovering over it on a wire. Because of how cool it is that caterpillars turn into butterflies we decided to show the whole process on her project. This was Fiona’s first time doing paper mache, she was a little unsure about how messy it made her hands, but she worked through it, even though she wanted to go wash her hands a few times during the process. She did seem to enjoy it anyhow.
The caterpillar hatching out of the egg. Fi twisted pipe cleaners together to make the caterpillar and she wrapped a couple layers of packing tape around a small hollow packing tape ball I started for her to make the egg.
The paper flower and a crawling caterpillar. Fi cut out the petals herself after tracing a pattern I made for her and curled them around a pencil. She couldn’t get the felt to cut so I cut out the leaves and she also couldn’t squeeze the fabric paint bottles so I squeezed it while she guided my hand. I used a glue gun to glue the flower together.
We made the chrysalis by spray painting a shell green. I tied a bead to a piece of string and Fi put the string into the shell to catch it on the inside of the spiral so we could hang it from the branch.
We made the butterfly out of that air dry clay. I traced the butterfly in the book and cut it out of the clay after we rolled it flat. Before it hardened we put sequins on the wings and bent them into a flying shape. After it dried I spray painted it with clear spray paint since the sequins kept coming off.