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QTL > News > Article Summaries > Current Article
Butterfly release wraps collaborative project
May 2004

(LUMBERTON, NC) -- West Lumberton Elementary students took a quick break from the rigors of end-of-grade testing on May 11 to put the final exciting touches on a project they've been working on most of the year. They released dozens of butterflies onto their school playground after raising the beautiful insects from the chrysalis stage.

A student watches in awe as a classmate holds up one of the butterflies they raised as part of their teachers' QTL collaborative project.

"Oh, it's been amazing," says teacher Pam Day. "The kids were SO excited to see the butterflies. Everybody learned about them -- the whole school!"

The project began as a way for teachers of different grade levels to collaborate after attending ExplorNet's QTL training. Kindergarten and third grade teachers came up with a plan to have their students study butterflies and life cycles together. The students were grouped to do research, artwork, writing and other assignments centered around the subject (click here for details of the collaborative effort).

By the time it was over, almost every student in the school was enthralled by the project. The children had learned science, technology, writing and more through a series of integrated lessons. They used technology tools including digital cameras, document cameras and projectors, and the Internet.

Media specialist Traci Byrd spearheaded the team project along with a handful of teachers who attended the intensive QTL training together. "As science is integrated into the End of Grade tests," she says, "it is so important to include more science activities into our lesson plans. Students learned about life cycles as they raised the painted lady butterflies, while using the most up to date teachnology."

Three students peer inside a butterfly cage as they coax the last remaining butterflies out into the school playground.

End-of-grade tests are a major focus for North Carolina public schools, and some administrators might have shied away from a huge project like the butterfly collaboration during the busy spring months. But even as third and fourth graders took their exams, West Lumberton principal Dr. Juanita Clark stressed that far from distracting students, projects like this one can help improve EOG scores -- even if they center on subject matter that doesn't wind up being part of the exams.

"The learning elements built knowledge," she says. "The project incorporated science and reading, and it was motivated reading, extra reading. And anything that's going to promote reading is going ot lead to higher EOG scores. When they're turned on to reading, they want to read more."

The actual release attracted coverage from WBTW-TV and The Robesonian newspaper, an added bonus for students and teachers.


For more information, contact Robin Fred via e-mail at or call him at 888.507.3800.

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