Teaching and Learning Tools

Online Resources

Learn About Butterflies and Moths

  • Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) - BAMONA is a user-friendly web site and database that shares butterfly and moth species information with the public via dynamic maps, checklists, and species pages. Data are updated regularly and come from a variety of sources, including citizen scientists. Teachers and schools can get involved by documenting butterflies and moths at their schools or in their neighborhoods and submitting photographs for review. Collaborating lepidopterists serve as coordinators and oversee quality control. The site also defines insect terminology in the entomological terms glossary.
  • Butterfly Quest 2007 - A project that gives updated information about butterflies, in readily accessible digital files. A text file and a PowerPoint file are available for download, and you can burn CDs of the slide show for use in the classroom, with your gardening group, or for an environmental education program.
  • Monarch Watch In the Classroom - Find curriculum guides, suggestions for research projects, vocabulary words, and more from Monarch Watch.
  • The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies - This NOVA video highlights the 2,000 mile migration of monarch butterflies to a sanctuary in the highlands of Mexico. Watch the 60-minute program online or purchase a DVD.
  • The Life Cycle of a Butterfly - A lesson plan created by Joy Lewallen at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
  • Thematic Unit for Use With Chipo's Gift - Deb Troehler, author of Chipo's Gift, has created a thematic unit for use by teachers and parents. The unit is designed for use in grades K-2.
  • Life Cycle of the Cecropia Moth - Mary VanSlyke has created a beautiful poster depicting the life cycle of the Cecropia Moth.

Learn About Pollination and Pollinators
While most butterflies are poor pollinators, some species of moths provide this valuable service.

  • Nature's Partners: Pollinators, Plants, and You - An inquiry learning-based curriculum for young people in the 4th through the 6th grade.
  • Pick the Pollinator - A game created by PBS NOVA where users "match seven plants with their pollinators and learn some of the reasons why flowering plants have come to dominate the botanical world."
  • Pollinators - Busy Doing What? - This episode of the Canadian Hinterland Who's Who focuses on pollinators. Watch the ~8 min episode online or order a free DVD.
  • Plant Pollination Strategies - This site was created by the U.S. Forest Service to describe examples of plant pollination strategies, including wind, water, and animals.
  • Planning a Pollinator Garden - This activity was developed by the National Gardening Association to help kids create a pollinator-friendly garden.


NOVA-butterflies.jpg This NOVA video highlights the 2,000 mile migration of monarch butterflies to a sanctuary in Mexico. It is available online or for purchase.
SkippersOfTheNortheast.jpg This Skippers of the Northeast video series by Richard K. Walton features skippers (family Hesperiidae) from the Northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. In these short videos, similar looking skippers as well as species that regularly fly together in the same habitat are placed together for direct comparison.
AMNH-forYouTube.jpg In this video from the American Museum of Natural History Hazel Davies (AMNH's Manager of Living Exhibits) and Whitney Doreen Ortiz walk through the vivarium and interact with butterflies from around the world: blue morphos, striking scarlet swallowtails and large owl butterflies.

MasterVision offers DVD and VHS resources on butterflies.


Opler, P.A. and Jim Ebner. Audubon Butterfly DVD Essentials for Beginners and Gardeners (2 hrs and 30 min.). MasterVision, New York.

Audubon’s VideoGuide to Butterflies DVD Common and Endangered. 2008. MasterVision, New York.

Opler, P.A. and Jim Ebner. 1995. Audubon Society's Butterflies for Beginners (68 min.). MasterVision, New York.

Opler, P.A. and Jim Ebner. 1996. Audubon Society's Butterfly Gardening (90 min.). MasterVision, New York.

Books About Butterflies and Moths

Field Guides and General Reference Books

  • Elhert, Lois. 2001. Waiting for Wings Harcourt Children's Books. ISBN: 0152026088
  • Klass, C. and R. Dirig. 1992. Learning About Butterflies. A Cornell Cooperative Extension Publication. Ithaca, N.Y.
  • Legg, Gerald, Carolyn Scrace (Illustrator), and David Salariya. 1998 (April, 1998). From Caterpillar to Butterfly (Lifecycles). Franklin Watts. ISBN: 0531144933
  • Mitchell, Robert T. and Herbert S. Zim. 1987. Butterflies and Moths: A Guide to More Common American Species (Revised Edition). (Golden Guides). Golden Press, New York. Paperback, 160 pages. ISBN: 0307240525
  • Norsgaard, E. Jaediker and John F McGee (Illustrator). 1996. Butterflies for Kids (Wildlife for Kids Series). Northword Press, Inc. Minocqua, Wisconsin.. Paperback, 48 pages. ISBN: 1559715464
  • Opler, Paul A., illustrated by Amy Bartlett Wright. 1994. Peterson First Guide to Butterflies and Moths. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. Paperback, 128 pages. ISBN 0-395-67072-1. (Phone 800-225-3362
  • Paul. 1990. Familiar Butterflies North America (Audubon Society Pocket Guide). Paperback, 191 pages. Published by Knopf. ISBN: 067972981X
  • Putnam, Patti and Milt Putnam. 1997. North America's Favorite Butterflies : A Pictorial Guide. Willow Creek Press. Paperback, 128 pages. ISBN: 1572231092
  • Pyle, Robert Michael. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Flexi Edition. Hardcover, 916 pages. Published by Knopf. ISBN: 0394519140
  • Pyle, R.M., illustrated by Sarah Hughes. 1983. A Field Guide to Butterflies Coloring Book. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. ISBN 0-395-34675-4
  • Pyle, Robert Michael, Sarah Anne Hughes (Illustrator). 1992. Handbook for Butterfly Watchers. Reprint Edition. Paperback, 280 pages. Houghton Mifflin Co (Pap). ISBN: 0395616298
  • Wright, Amy Bartlett. 1993. Peterson First Guide to Caterpillars. Houghton Mifflin Co. 128, Boston. Paperback, pages. ISBN: 0395564999. (Phone 800-225-3362)

Butterfly Gardening and Attracting Butterflies

  • Elhert, Lois. 2001. Waiting for Wings. Harcourt Children's Books. ISBN: 0152026088
  • Ellis, Barbara. 1997. Attracting Birds & Butterflies: How to Plan and Plant Backyard Habitat (Taylor's Weekend Gardening Guides, 3).
    Paperback. Houghton Mifflin Co (Pap). ISBN: 0395813727
  • Emmel, Thomas C. 1997 (November, 1997). Butterfly Gardening: How to Start Your Own Butterfly Garden and Identify Your Butterfly Visitors. Friedman/Fairfax Pub. Hardcover, 112 pages. ISBN: 156799525X
  • Hamilton, Kersten. 1997. The Butterfly Book : Kids Guide to Attracting, Raising, and Keeping Butterflies. John Muir Publications, Santa Fe, N.M. 40 pages. ISBN: 156261309X. (John Muir Publications, P.O. Box 613, Santa Fe, NM 87504, (505) 982-4078, 800-888-7504)
  • Mikula, Rick and Claudia Mikula. 1997. Garden Butterflies of North America : A Gallery of Garden Butterflies & How to Attract Them.
    Willow Creek Press. Hardcover, 160 pages. ISBN: 157223086X
  • Schneck, Marcus. 1994. Creating a Butterfly Garden : A Guide to Attracting and Identifying Butterfly Visitors. Paperback, 80 pages.
    Published by Fireside (Simon & Schuster EDITIONS). . ISBN: 0671892460
  • Xerces Society, Smithsonian Institution. 1990. Butterfly Gardening : Creating Summer Magic in Your Garden. Paperback, 192 pages. Sierra Club Books. ISBN: 087156615X

Activities with Butterflies (and Teacher Resources)

  • Beaty, Seddon Kelly and Irene Fountas. 1993. Butterflies Abound! A Whole Language Resource Guide for K-4. Paperback, 224 pages. (Grades K-4). Addison-Wesley. ISBN: 0-201-81521-4 (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1 Jacob Way, Reading MA 08167, Phone 800-358-4566).
  • Boring, Mel and Linda Garrow (Illustrator). 1996. Caterpillars, Bugs, and Butterflies (Take-Along Guide). Northword Press, Inc. Minocqua, Wisconsin.. Hardcover, 48 pages. ISBN: 1559714794
  • Dashefsky, Steven. 1992. Insect Biology: 49 Science Fair Projects. Hardcover, 208 pages. (Grades 3-9). McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 0-8306-4031-2 (McGraw-Hill Direct Marketing, 860 Taylor Station Road, Blacklick, OH 43004, Phone 800-262-4729).
  • Dunn, Gary A. 1994. Organizing Bug Days and Insect Fairs. Paperback, 190 pages. (Grades K-12). The Young Entomologist's Society, ISBN: 1-884256-11-2 (The Young Entomologist's Society, 1915 Peggy Place, Lansing, MI 48910, Phone 517-887-0499).
  • Echols, Jean C. 1986. Hide A Butterfly. Paperback, 44 pages. (Grades PreK-1). Lawrence Hall of Science. (Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, Phone 510-642-1016).
  • Elhert, Lois. 2001. Waiting for Wings. Harcourt Children's Books. ISBN: 0152026088
  • Embry, Lynn. 1988. Scientific Encounters of the Insect World. Paperback, 64 pages. (Grades 4-7). Good Apple, Inc., an imprint of Simon & Schuster Elementary. ISBN: 0-86653-424-5 (Good Apple, P.O. Box 1649, Columbus, OH 43216, Phone 800-321-3106).
  • Grafton, C.G. 1991. Butterfly Stickers in Full Color. Dover Publications, Inc., New York. ISBN 0-486-26700-8. (Dover Publications, 180 Varick Street, New York, New York 10014, Phone 800-223-3130)
  • Hapai, Marlene Nachbar and Leon H. Burton. 1989. Bug Play: Activities with Insects for Young Children. Paperback, 304 pages. (Grades K-4). Addison-Wesley. ISBN: 0-201-21540-3 (Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1 Jacob Way, Reading MA 08167, Phone 800-358-4566).
  • Kelley, Scot, Susan, Stephanie, and Stephen. 1999. Butterflies and Moths: coloring fun. The Kelley Family, Kansas City, Missouri. (www.geocities.com/rainforest/vines/3961)
  • Opler, Paul A., illustrated by Susan Strann. 1993. Butterflies East and West a book to color (also activity book). Roberts Rinehart, Boulder, Colo. Paperback, 96 pages. ISBN 1-879373-45-9. (Phone 800-352-1985, E-mail rhinobooks@aol.com)
  • Trimble, Marcia. 1999. Malinda Mariposa meets Mariposa. Images Press, Los Altos Hills, Calif. ISBN 1-891577-57-3 (hrdbk), 1-891577-58-1 (paper).
  • Vansant, Rhonda and Barbara Dondiego. 1995. Moths, Butterflies, Other Insects, & Spiders: Science in Art, Song and Play. Paperback, 112 pages. (Grades Pre-K-3). McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 0-07-017907-7 (McGraw-Hill Direct Marketing, 860 Taylor Station Road, Blacklick, OH 43004, Phone 800-262-4729).
  • Wilsdon, C., P. Tan, and J. Aldana. 1999. The magical mobile incredible cut-out butterfly calender 2000. National Audubon Society and Artisan Press, New York, N.Y. (www.workmanweb.com)