Lesson Plan

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Lesson Plan

Grade Levels

1st Grade, Kindergarten

Course, Subject

Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening
Related Academic Standards

Common Core Standards

As of right now, the Common Core Standards objective numbers are written for grades 3 and up. 

*With prompting and support, ask and answer

questions about key details in a text.


*Identify the front cover, back cover, and title

page of a book.


*Name the author and illustrator of a text and

define the role of each in presenting the ideas or

information in a text.


*Actively engage in group reading activities with

purpose and understanding.


*Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and

writing to compose opinion pieces in which they

tell a reader the topic or the name of the book

they are writing about and state an opinion or

preference about the topic or book (e.g., My

favorite book is . . .).


*Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or

information presented orally or through other

media by asking and answering questions

about key details and requesting clarification if

something is not understood.


*Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a

written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).


*Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things

arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10

things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1–20, count

out that many objects.


*Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than,

less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by

using matching and counting strategies.1


*Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract

within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem.


The reason the children need to listen/read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is because it is a fabulous literary piece that extends across the curriculum. By listening to and/or reading this book, children can learn about the life cycle of a butterfly (science), proper food choices in the food pyramid (health/nutrtion), number sense (math), even and odd numbers (math), greater than and less than (math), making predictions (reading and language arts), estimation (math) and vocabulary (science, math and reading). The children will also learn about the author, illustrator, the title and make predictions as to why the author chose to write this story.


Life cycle- the process of moving from one stage of life to another (egg-caterpillar (larva)-pupa-butterfly)

Cocoon- a shell formed around a moth larva for protection during the pupal stage

Chrysalis- a shell formed around a butterfly larva for protection during the pupal stage

Metamorphosis- a change of physical form such as a caterpillar to a butterfly

Egg- a protective hard shell from which a baby caterpillar hatches

Larva-a caterpillar that hatches from an egg

Pupa- the stage of a caterpillars life where it builds a protective covering (chrysalis/butterfly or cocoon/moth) around itself so that it can turn into an adult

Butterfly- an insect that flies around in the daytime with brightly colored wings and a hollow tongue for sucking nectar from plants




The teacher will:

1.  Read the story, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

     a.  after reading (can be later on in the day or next day as day 2 of story) lead discussion about

     * which days had an even or an odd number of food,

     *which day did he eat the most food, the least food 

     *if you added Monday and Tuesdays food together would it be greater than (more), less than (less) or equal to Wednesdays food?    ***put different combinations together

     b.  if you decide to do the food pyramid chart, discuss the categories and which foods are good choices and which foods are once in a while choices.  Have children come up to put lamintated cut outs of the food the caterpillar ate in the proper spots

2.  Discuss/review the vocabulary words before, during and after the story

     a.  write words on board so children can notice spelling patterns and use vocab in writing

3.  Use the poly vision board or poster to discuss and show pictures of the life cycle of a butterfly

4.  Give the instructions and model how to complete the life cycle worksheet

5.  Give the instructions and model how to complete the writing paper and illustration on which part of the story was the student's favorite part and why. 

The students will:

1.  Listen to the teacher read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

2a.  Tell which day had an even or an odd number of food, which day had the most and the least amount of food and add two days together and answer whether those days food totals are greater than, less than or equal to another day (laminated cut outs of the food can be used to solve addition problems and for students who need to manipulate items to see <, > and =)

2b.  Place laminated cut outs of the food that the caterpillar ate in the proper spots on the food pyramid chart.

3.  Join in the discussion of the vocabulary words (ask questions if need be, repeat word, make prediction of what word means)

4.  Use the poly vision board to see pictures of the life cycle of a butterfly.

5.  Complete the life cycle worksheet

6.  Complete the writing and illustration paper on which part of the story and why was their favorite. (I liked it when the caterpillar ......./ The best part was .....)

7.  Share their writing with the class if they would like to.

Lesson Essential Question(s)

Why do you think Eric Carle chose to write a book about a caterpillar?

Which day did the caterpillar eat the most food? (Saturday)

Which day did the caterpillar eat the least amount of food? (Monday)

Which amount of food is an even number? (2, 4)

Which amount of food is an odd number? (1, 3, 5)

Which foods that the caterpillar ate are good choices on the food pyramid? (apple, pear, plum, strawberries, oranges, cheese, pickle, sausage, salami, watermelon)

Which foods that the caterpillar ate are choices that we should only have every once in awhile?  (lollipop, cupcake/cake, pie)

When we are making choices on what food we want to eat, why should you choose these choices (point to laminated "good choice foods") over these choices (point to laminated "once in a while foods")?

How many parts are there in a butterfly life cycle? (4)

What is it called when when a caterpillar moves from one stage of its life to another?  (life cycle) 

What are the four parts of the butterfly life cycle? (egg, larva, pupa, butterfly)

Which part comes first? (egg) Which part is last? (butterfly)

What is the protective covering around the caterpillar called? (chrysalis)

What is it called when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly? (metamorphosis)

Which part of the story was your favorite part?  Why do you like that part?



One 30-40 minute session for reading, discussing life cycle and completing life cycle sheet.

One 20-30 minute session for writing and illustrating about favorite part.

One 20 minute session for math questions and/or enrichment chart.  


The Very Hungry Caterpillar book by Eric Carle.

caterpillar puppet, a piece of fabric for the chrysalis, butterfly puppet and laminated pictures of what it eats

poly vision board and pen

dry erase markers (just in case poly vision board pen isn't working properly)

Butterfly life cycle poster

Life cycle worksheet and construction paper

pencil, crayons, scissors, glue

writing paper

Suggested Instructional Strategies

W:  I will introduce the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by telling the children they will be learning about the life cycle of a butterfly.  I will help them understand the new vocabulary words by showing them pictures of the life cycle of a butterfly and the words that go along with each stage.  I will explain that they will be responsible for completing a life cycle paper that looks like the one we are completing as a class.
H:  I will hold the students attention during reading the story by using a caterpillar puppet, cut outs of the food he eats, fabric to wrap him in a chrysalis and a butterfly puppet to represent the life cycle of a butterfly.
E:  I will motivate the students to further understand the life cycle by showing pictures of different stages of a butterfly cycle and, after breaking into groups, having the random reporter tell us which stage the butterfly in the picture is in. 
R:  I will motivate the students to reflect, revisit, revise and rethink the vocabulary words by reviewing the stages and the vocabulary words first and then explaining the instructions on how to complete the life cycle worksheet by themselves at their desks.
E:  I will evaluate the students understanding of the butterfly life cycle by giving them a worksheet that asks them to match the pictures of each stage with the vocabulary words. 
T:  To meet the needs of all of my students, I will use strategies such as Think-Pair-Share, random reporter and have the children partner up to find the answers to questions posed during reading.  I will gear my level of questioning based on the developmental level of each child (ask easier questions to those who struggle, harder questions to those who need more challenge) and use manipulatives to find the answers if need be.
O:  I will organize the objectives that the children have learned to further their prior knowledge for later concepts.  As part of reading unit on trees and plants,  I could have the children compare the life cycle of a butterfly to the life cycle of a tree or plant.  That discussion could lead to a discussion on the food that trees and plants give us which could tie in with the food pyramid and making healthy eating choices.

Instructional Procedures

The teacher will use the poly vision board to:

1.  show a video of a butterfly life cycle

2.  show pictures of each stage so the students can use the pen to label each stage

3.  show pictures of different butterflies.

4.  show a food pyramid that the students can interact with and decide in which section would each piece of food the caterpillar eats belong 


1.  After discussing the differences between a moth and a butterfly, the teacher will show pictures of each and the children will decide whether the picture is a moth or a butterfly.

2.  After viewing different types of butterflies on the poly vision board, each child will pick the one they liked best, print the picture and attach it to their writing on why that butterfly is their favorite.

3.  Create a class graph (which includes tally marks, numbers and words) to show which butterfly is the favorite.

4.  Based on the food that the caterpillar eats in the story, create a food pyramid to show which food choices are healthy and which are not. (use laminated cut outs of food for children to place in proper spots on food pyramid)

Formative Assessment

Name: ______________

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

1.  Tell whether the food on any given day within the story is an even number or an odd number? 

            Even   yes/no   Odd    yes/no

2.  Add two days of food from the story together?    Yes/No

3.  Tell which number of food is greater than, less than or equal to another number of food?   

             Greater than    Yes/No

              Less than         Yes/No

              Equal to           Yes/No

4. Put the pictures of a butterfly life cycle in sequential order?         Yes/No

5.  Match the words (egg, larva, pupa, butterfly) to the correct pictures in the butterfly life cycle?

               Egg           Yes/No

               Larva        Yes/No

               Pupa         Yes/No

               Butterfly   Yes/No

6.  Write and illustrate a sentence (or two) about the part of the story that they liked best?     Yes/No


***Questions 1,2 and 3 can be assessed either one on one or using individual white boards or chalkboards in a whole group setting.

***Questions 4, 5 and 6 can be assessed with the student's work.

Related Materials & Resources

Other resources I could use with this lesson are:

1.  Eric Carle library (The Very Grouchy Ladybug, The Very Quiet Cricket, etc...)

2.  Interview with Eric Carle on Reading Rockets Intervention site: http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/carle/


The Very Hungry Caterpillar Lesson Plan by Erica Davids

Date Published

June 25, 2011
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