Teaching sequence

Lesson objective

In this lesson students explore life stages and lifecycles of living things.


Inform students that now that they have provided information for Atto on living and non-living things, they are going to help Atto understand more about living things by discussing life stages and lifecycles.

Ask students to make suggestions about how they have grown since they were born.

Show student the images of the human stages of development – baby, toddler girl, young boy and adolescent.

A baby.
Toddler girl.
Young boy
Adolescent boy

Ask students to make suggestions about how babies grow and change over time. Explain that humans move through growth changes that are identified as life stages. Have students examine the two photographs of themselves and discuss how they have grown and changed over time and then to record their ideas in their science journals.

Ask students to make suggestions about the later stages of growth of a human – adolescent, adult, senior citizen.


  1. Discuss students’ ideas about the term ‘lifecycle’. Define the meaning of the term ‘cycle’ by explaining that when scientists talk about cycles, they are talking about sequences of events that repeat themselves. Inform students that a lifecycle defines the life stages of a living thing and that they, as a class, are going to further investigate lifecycles.
  2. Lifecycles of plants.
    1. Make observations of the plant growing stations to determine the stages of development that have occurred so far. Have students identify the stages they have observed and record them for Atto, using scientific diagrams, photographs or video.
    2. Explain to students the terms relating to stages of development of plants such as seed, seedling and mature plant that may develop flowers or fruit.
    3. Watch the video Lightfactor time lapse: fern time lapse and point out the life stages of the plant whilst viewing.
  3. Lifecycles of animals.
    1. Show students the video The lifecycle of monarch butterflies. Explain the life stages of a butterfly as egg, larvae (caterpillar), pupae (chrysalis) and adult whilst viewing the video.
    2. Navigate through the learning object Lifecycles: butterflies. Explain the term ‘metamorphosis’ as the transformation or change of character, appearance and function of a living thing, such as when the caterpillar pupates into the butterfly.
    3. Make observations of the animal habitat in the classroom and discuss the life stages and lifecycle of the animal in that habitat.

Teacher note: As an alternate activity, have students choose an animal and research its lifecycle. Ask students to share the lifecycle of the animal with the rest of the class.


Explain to students that each living thing has its own lifecycle and that most lifecycles follow a similar pattern. Navigate through the learning object Part of a pattern to explain this concept. Demonstrate the concept of patterns across life stages by re-viewing and discussing the students’ photographs.

Distribute Atto’s digital communicator – blank (PDF, 72 KB) to each student. Ask them to record an example of a lifecycle in order to illustrate the concept to Atto.

Lesson Resources


Student activities

Digital resources

Lightfactor time lapse: fern time lapse,
YouTube (1:04 min)

R12128 The lifecycle of monarch butterflies,
NDLRN (3:42 min)

L1358 Lifecycles: butterflies, NDLRN

L1472 Part of a pattern, NDLRN


Atto's digital communicatior - blank (PDF, 372 KB)

Useful links

A Life Cycle App,
Nth Fusion LLC. iPad/iPhone application. Lifecycles in images, text and audio.

L17 Where do frogs lay their eggs?
Learning object, NDLRN.