Students Learn About Lifecycles

ST. MARYS — Local third-grade students have been receiving an in-depth look at a butterfly’s lifecycle, as they raised a handful of the insects from larvae to adults.

“We got this kit,” Joni Ahlers said of her third-grade class at St. Marys Intermediate School. “When we got them, they were in the larva stage.”

Her class noted a butterfly’s larva stage is when it is a caterpillar.

“We watched them for how long?” she asked her class, as they responded with the answer.

“It takes seven to 10 days for them to go from a larva to a pupa,” Ahlers said.

After the pupa stage, her students noted it can take a butterfly anywhere from seven to 10 days to hatch.

“Ours took seven days — from Friday to Friday,” Ahlers said. “Now they’re an adult butterfly.”

She noted she received the five caterpillars approximately two weeks ago, and her students released them on Tuesday.

“We released them in our land lab,” Ahlers said, noting the park-like area next to the school building. “We put sugar water out for them.”

Ahlers noted all of the St. Marys Intermediate School third-grade classes received a butterfly kit. Her students said they enjoyed the butterfly exercise.

“We learned about lifecycles,” Ahlers’ student Minami Boyd said.

She noted her favorite part about watching the caterpillars grow into butterflies.

“The silk webs because they look neat,” Minami said.

Her classmate Max Sell said he liked the beginning stages the best.

“The larva because I like to watch them grow,” Max said.

Their classmate Michael Ladd said he liked the adult stage.

“Our butterflies were beautiful,” he said.

Kelsey Poppe noted a fact she learned about butterflies during their lesson.

“Butterflies are pollinators, like honeybees,” she said.

In addition to studying butterflies, Ahlers’ students have also learned about grasshoppers and have been watching eagles.

“We’re studying the life stages of all organisms,” she said.

The eagles are on a 24/7 webcam that overlooks their nest in Decorah, Ill.

“We’ve watched them from when they were eggs to now,” Ahlers said, noting how fast the birds have grown.

The eagle cam is available at