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Sacs like this appear in autumn. We found this one on a piece of firewood.

What is it?

It's a cocoon. The opening you see at one end reveals the cocoon is empty.


Public domain image from Wikimedia.

If we had been there at the right time, we might have seen one of these beautiful cecropia moths emerge. Wow!


To finish up our celebration of National Moth Week, let's take a look at the fun hands-on activity book for kids, Butterfly Papercrafts: 21 Indoor Projects for Outdoor Learning by Sal Levinson and illustrated by Danielle Levinson.

This book introduces children to both art and science in an integrated way. Topics covered include butterfly life cycles, butterfly gardening, puddling behavior, migration, camouflage and more. To explore these topics, children make finger puppets, flip books, paper airplanes, and even a butterfly-shaped kite.

The layout consists of a series of two-page spreads with instructions and information about a given butterfly-related topic on the left page and the reproducible template for the craft to make on the right hand page. Also included are black and white photographs of completed projects or activity suggestions. What a wonderful way to learn about butterflies and moths!

Although the emphasis in this book is on butterflies, many of the details are the same for both and there is a section about comparing butterflies and moths on pages 28 and 29, including a template for a double-sided moth. Although the book has other fun suggestions for how to use the moth template, it also could be folded and then taped or glued to a large craft stick to make a realistic moth puppet (Children with emerging fine motor skills will need assistance with cutting it out).

By the way, the moth isn't identified in the text, but it looks like a Polyphemus moth (see below). Kids can use their imaginations to design their own moth colors, too.

(Public domain image of a Polyphemus moth from Wikimedia)

Sal Levinson is a trained entomologist and it shows. The information in the book is detailed and accurate. Sal's daughter Danielle has a degree in design and she used her talents to create some fabulous paper crafts. Like the example of the moth above, she based her designs on real insects, not cartoons.

Butterfly Papercrafts would be a great resource to have on hand for STEAM festivals, units on insects, to accompany a trip to a butterfly house, or for a rainy day craft project at home. A must have for children who love butterflies.

Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 7, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1508695377
ISBN-13: 978-1508695370

For more ideas about things to do with the patterns/templates in the book, try our butterflies Pinterest page.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the author for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.


For National Moth Week we have a moth with an awesome name: The Tufted Bird Dropping Moth,  Cerma cerintha. It is a type of noctuid or owlet moth.

Moths are often all about camouflage and this one can do double duty.

For example if it was perched on tree bark covered with lichen and moss, it might blend right in.

On a leaf it might look like a bird dropping, as the common name suggests.

BugGuide has some photographs of the caterpillars. They feed on plants in the rose family, including pears, apples, cherries, and hawthorns.

The tufted part of the name comes from the tufts of scales on the back of the thorax and wings. The tufts aren't easy to see from a back view. Try this side view.

The tufted bird dropping moth is found in the eastern half of North America where its food plants grow. It's common, but not much is known about its biology.

Isn't it cool? Are we beginning to convince you that moths are just as interesting as butterflies?