Life Cycle Wrap-up

Author: Jennifer Hernandez

Overview: [This is the third in a series of three lessons concerning life cycles] This lesson is the final wrap-up for the hornworm life cycle experiment. Students will examine live or preserved adult moths and complete a sketch of the specimen. Next, average length and weight measurements (calculated in the previous lesson, Life Cycle Experiment) of all larvae from each treatment group will be graphed on one paper. There will be one graph per condition in each classroom, representing data for each period. Data for the different classrooms will not be combined (Note: this lesson was originally designed for three classrooms). The graphing will be followed by a discussion on patterns in the data and the writing exercise.

Lesson Concepts:

  • Students will examine data from the hornworm experiment and identify patterns.
  • Students will learn how to create a scientific sketch containing labels and other relevant information.
  • Students will reinforce writing skills through summary exercise.

Grade span: 7th grade


  • Preserved adult moths
  • Paper for writing exercise and sketch
  • Large graph paper

Time: About 45 minutes

Grouping: Groups of four students (same groups as in previous lesson)


  1. (10 minutes) Students will divide into their lab groups — each group is then given an adult moth to examine and sketch. The sketches should contain the following: measurement of scale and labels for head, antennae, wings, abdomen, and proboscis (tongue).
  2. (5 minutes) Students return to seats. Hand out data sheets containing calculations for average length and weight of larvae.
  3. (10 minutes) Student volunteers plot averages for each condition on respective graph.
  4. (10 minutes) Discuss what the data indicate about the effects of different conditions on the development of hornworm larvae. The discussion should also emphasize the use of the scientific method in addressing our questions about the hornworm life cycle.
  5. (10 minutes) Writing exercise: The topic of the writing exercise is left to the discretion of each Fellow. Possible topics include: a description of the experiment, explaining what was learned about life cycles, explanation of the scientific method, etc.