One of my favorite science units has always been learning about life cycles. Learning about life cycles is so engaging to students because they are using their observational skills to notice and comment on what happens… and the changes sometimes seem magical! I usually teach about life cycles in springtime, but I’ve come to learn that there are animals around all year long that students are excited to learn about.
The thing I love about life cycles is that when we are talking about animals (and even plants!) students get really excited. Since these concepts are so engaging you can actually study many different life cycles , but change your objective or the task at hand to engage students while practicing a wide range of academic skills.
Learning and writing about life cycles helps students to practice:
*Drawing and writing to communicate observations
*Using content specific vocabulary in context
*Research and “all about” writing skills
*Asking and answering questions
When it comes to students showing what they know about life cycles, there are several different formats I have used in the past!
Check out these types of life cycle activities my students have enjoyed through the years!
Life Cycle Wheels are a great visual way to have students create their own practice wheel. They can visually see the progression and life cycle of whatever animal or plant you’re learning about.
Cut and paste is a great way to have students sequence and write about the life cycle of a living thing! It makes for a great lesson on sequencing and transition words.
If you’re looking for a differentiated and simplified version of the life cycle sequencing, this type of activity just requires sequencing pictures, and then writing the words associated with each stage. I use these sets with vocabulary cards that students can also use to help them to label the growth stage.
Students can make their very own life cycle booklets. They can either cut and paste, and write, or you can differentiate by providing the words or pictures to students.
While you are learning about the life cycle of different plants and animals, it’s a great time to practice other research skills as well. Using KWL charts, web graphic organizers, and writing templates is a great way to have a research station ready to go for your students. Read more about why I love research companions here!
If your students could use practice in some or all of the skills mentioned in this post, you can check out these time saving ready to go printable life cycle resources. I offer them in a bundle at a savings of more than 30% here, so you’ll be able to give students lots of choice and practice with the variety of included activities.
Some of my favorite Life Cycle Resources are:
- Life Cycle of a Butterfly
- Life Cycle of a Frog
- Life Cycle of a Rabbit
- Life Cycle of a Honey Bee
- Life Cycle of a Cow
- Life Cycle of a Groundhog
- Life Cycle of an Ant
- Life Cycle of a Mouse
- Life Cycle of a Sheep
- Life Cycle of a Robin
- Life Cycle of a Penguin
- Life Cycle of a Reindeer
- Life Cycle of a Harp Seal
- Life Cycle of a Turkey
- Life Cycle of a Sea Turtle
- Life Cycle of a Coniferous Tree
- How a Pumpkin Grows