Metamorphosis Science: Spring STEM ideas

Spring time brings huge opportunities to study life and natural sciences.

Spring is the time when we all begin to come out of our winter holes, stretch out, take the time to smell the flowers, and enjoy the sun once again. With all of the abundant activity, spring is a great time to dive into life and natural sciences. One of my favorite spring science activities is to learn about metamorphosis science, whether that be the metamorphosis of butterfly or the metamorphosis of frog, or maybe another type of metamorphosis!

Learn about metamorphosis with hands on experiments

There is no better way to learn about science than by doing science. The great thing about these metamorphosis projects is that they are hands on projects that last a long time and can lead to a ton of dinner table conversations. More dinner table conversations means more openings to drop interesting tidbits about metamorphosis and what you are seeing. This year, we're raising tadpoles into frogs and caterpillars into butterflies, but we have a whole list of cool metamorphosis projects outlined below for you to choose the right one for your family!

6 Metamorphosis projects for inspired spring science at home

  1. Grow a butterfly (purchase a kit)
  2. Grow a frog (purchase a kit)
  3. Grow ladybugs (purchase a kit)
  4. Grow a bettle (purchase a kit)
  5. Grow praying mantisis (purchase a kit)
  6. Research one of the 85% of insects that go through metamorphosis and try to grow one at home!
metamorphosis science activities for kids

What is Metamorphosis?

Metamorphosis is the transformation of an animal from an egg to an adult. During this process, however, the animal has massive changes to their body. The most accessible example of metamorphosis is in Eric Carle's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Caterpillars, or larvae, and butterflies are all around us in the spring and summer and one of the most brazen shows of metamorphosis. Here the animal, a caterpillar, goes through such extensive changes to their body that they go from inching along to flying high!

There are two types of metamorphosis seen in animals, complete and incomplete. In complete metamorphosis, an animal hatches from an egg, goes through a larvae phase enters a pupa (think chrysalis or cocoon), and then emerges as an adult. In incomplete metamorphosis, an egg hatches into a nymph, which often has a striking similarity to the final adult version. A great example of incomplete metamorphosis is the praying mantis, where the nymphs look very similar to the adults.

5 Cool facts about metamorphosis.

Watching metamorphosis - Ideas for differentiated learning

Learning about metamorphosis through watching and caring for these animals is a great opportunity for differentiated learning. For younger kids, you can read Eric Carle's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, collage a life cycle wheel from images in the book, and then track where in the process your butterflies are. Older kids can create a nature journal and draw what their specimen looks like each day, or they can measure the weight, length, etc each day to create a chart. Kids can research if the larvae eat the same types of food the adults eat. You can create a photo flipbook to watch the critter grow over time. 

You can also have dinner table conversations around the process of metamorphosis, animal care, the impact of various animals and insects in our backyard ecosystem, why some animals might have evolved to go through metamorphosis while others, like us, did not.