Enquiry 4: Favourite Environments in our School

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Key questions

> Where do butterflies like to live?
> Where would a butterfly like to live in our school grounds?
> How can we make our school a good place for butterflies?

In these activities, children consider the best environment for butterflies by taking part in a decision-making exercise on where a butterfly would like to live.

Try to source a large scale map of the school grounds. These are very useful resources for many geography activities. They can be purchased from the OSI or local councils. If this is not possible a hand-drawn map of the school would also work well.

Learning outcomes
On completing these activities all children will be able to:

> observe, discuss and appreciate the attributes of the local environment, specifically animals’ habitats;
> develop an appreciation that people share the environment with plant and animal life;
> develop a sense of responsibility for taking care of and enhancing the environment; and
> describe and discuss observations, especially in relation to different locations, using an expanding vocabulary and using pictures.


  • Photographs of habitats e.g. city, park, woods, etc, can be sourced from the internet and magazines; alternatively look at photos on Investigation 04a – ‘What would a butterfly like?’
  • School grounds & clipboards (optional)
  • ‘Where would a butterfly like to live in our school grounds’? worksheet (Investigation 04b)
Pdf ../../../../../../../../aai-files/assets/Environment/Environment for Kids/Eco Detectives/04a-what-would-a-butterfly-like.pdf
Pdf ../../../../../../../../aai-files/assets/Environment/Environment for Kids/Eco Detectives/04b-where-would-a-butterfly-like-to-live.pdf

Learning activities

1. Each stage of the lifecycle requires a specific habitat. Introduce the idea of habitats as places where animals/plants/humans live. Ask children to describe their personal habitats.

2. Ask the children to match the animals to their habitats, e.g. house – human, nest – bird, etc.
Ask the children to explain why each animal lives in the place they do.

3. As a class ask children to stand up and classify their photographs of habitats into two categories: those that but terflies would like (woodland, park, trees, etc) and those that they wouldn’t (factory, city, kitchen, etc).

4. Hand out copies of Investigation 4a - and get the children to indicate by or whether a butterfly
would like to live in these locations.

5. Hand out the ‘Where would a butterfly like to live in our school grounds?’ Investigation sheet (Activity 04b) and check the school grounds for areas that would suit butterflies. Complete the investigation sheet by using ticks.

6. On a map of the school, mark where the best site for butterflies would be.

7. Talk about why certain places are good for butterflies. Link this to good and bad environments for other animals.

8. Talk about favourite places for the children. Ask the children to draw their own favourite environment.


Butterflies have certain requirements for each part of their life-cycle. To encourage butterflies it is also necessary to encourage caterpillars. The following are features which attract butterflies:

• Butterflies are attracted to red, orange, yellow and pink blossoms in clusters.
• Butterflies also like plants including carrots, parsley, broccoli, cabbage and sunflowers.
• Butterflies like stones for sunbathing.
• Butterfly houses allow butterflies to nest and are designed to keeps birds and other predators out.

Other activities

Design an area of the school grounds to be ‘butterfly friendly’, incorporating the features outlined above.