Lesson 10 – Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly

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Read About the Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly


Read the vocabulary terms to understand the reading better.

 A caterpillar is a young butterfly or moth that has just hatched out of its egg.

A chrysalis is the hard protective case that houses an insect during its resting stage of growth.

Hatching is when a baby bird, insect, or other animal comes out of its egg by breaking the shell.

Milkweed is a plant with milky juice and clusters of flowers.

Nectar is the liquid a plant makes that attracts insects and birds.

To shed means to take off, or let fall off.

Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly

Find out what happens in the life of a monarch butterfly.


A monarch butterfly lays tiny eggs on the leaves of a milkweed plant. The eggs stay there for a few days until it is the right time to hatch.


An egg hatches and out comes a tiny caterpillar. The caterpillar eats milkweed leaves to grow bigger. Soon the caterpillar is too big for its skin. The caterpillar sheds its old skin. The new skin underneath is bigger. The caterpillar keeps eating and shedding its skin as it grows.


The caterpillar hangs from a branch, then makes a chrysalis (say it like this: kris-a-lis). Inside, the caterpillar
turns into a butterfly.


After about nine days, a monarch butterfly breaks out of the chrysalis. The butterfly flies around and lands on flowers. The butterfly eats nectar. Nectar is a sweet liquid inside flowers. Soon the monarch butterfly will be ready to lay eggs.

Fun Facts!

Monarch butterflies are easy to spot because of their bold orange, black, and white markings.

Monarch butterflies use their antennae to smell things.

To learn more about the life cycle of a butterfly, watch the video by SciShow Kids on Youtube.

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