A Ladybug's Life Cycle: A First Grade Science Lesson

By Tracey Bleakley

Insects are a popular theme for first graders. If you are planning an insect theme for your first grade science curriculum, be sure to include some lessons about ladybugs. Teach your first graders the life cycle of a ladybug with this science lesson.

Getting Started

Most students are familiar with the life cycle of a butterfly, so try teaching the life cycle of a ladybug to your students. They will enjoy learning a new life cycle and after learning it they can compare the life cycles of the ladybug and the butterfly.


  • Book, A Ladybug's Life by John Himmelman.
  • Chart paper and markers.
  • Four page step book (see directions), one per child.
  • Half sheet of paper with the words egg, larva, pupa and adult to be cut out, one per child.
  • Green leaf shapes, three per child.
  • Yellow dots (you can make them with a hole punch).
  • Crayons, pencils, glue.

Try This Activity

Making the Step Books

Stack two pieces of white paper so that one is about one inch higher than the other. Then fold the papers in half top to bottom, so that you have four pages, each one about one inch longer than the one before it like steps. Staple across the top.


The Life Cycle of a Ladybug

  • Eggs - The mother ladybug lays tiny yellow eggs on the underside of a leaf.
  • Larva - When the larva hatch, they begin looking for food, aphids to eat. As they grow they shed their skins.
  • Pupa - After about three weeks as larvae, they attach themselves to leaves and stop moving for a few days. They look like tiny shrimp during this stage.
  • Adult - After a few days the skin of the pupa will split open and the adult ladybug will emerge. At first the adult will be soft and pale pink, but after a few hours it will begin to look like the familiar spotted ladybug.


Read and discuss the book, A Ladybug's Life by John Himmelman, to your first graders. The book's realistic illustrations and simple, informative text make it a good choice for teaching younger children about the life cycle. After you read, draw and label the ladybug's life cycle onto a piece of large chart paper.

Next tell the students that they are going to be making their own book about the ladybug's life cycle. Give each student a blank step book and a piece of paper with the words egg, larva, pupa and adult to be cut out. Have them cut the words out and glue one word on each page of the book in order, so that all four stages of the life cycle show when the pages are closed.

Then give each student the three leaf shapes and the yellow dots. Have them glue one leaf on the top page and then glue a few dots on the leaf. This should be the egg page. For the larva stage, they should glue a leaf on the page and then draw larva on the leaf. The newborns look like tiny alligators. On the pupa page, they should glue on a leaf and then draw the pupa attached underneath it. On the last page have them draw and color an adult ladybug.


Ask each student to use his book to tell you about the life cycle of a ladybug.