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Personal observations on life cycle

Personal observations on life cycle

Introduction: (Initial Observation)

Life cycle is a vast subject for researchers and scientists. There are millions of subjects that you can research their life cycle. Subject as small as viruses and bacteria or as large as stars and planets. Plants and animals make good subjects for life cycle observation. Small animals such as frog, fish, Butterfly, mouse and many others can easily be kept at home (in a cage or aquarium) for close observation.

It does not matter what type of animals you select to study! You can select any thing that you like. But your observation and report must include information such as:

  1. What is the average life span of your animal?
  2. What are the stages of your animals life
  3. What are the lengths of each period in your animal’s life?
  4. At what age your animal can reproduce?
  5. How do you distinguish male from female?


This project guide contains information that you need in order to start your project. If you have any questions or need more support about this project, click on the “Ask Question” button on the top of this page to send me a message.

If you are new in doing science project, click on “How to Start” in the main page. There you will find helpful links that describe different types of science projects, scientific method, variables, hypothesis, graph, abstract and all other general basics that you need to know.  

Project advisor

Information Gathering:

Find out about Life Cycle in general. Read books, magazines or ask professionals who might know in order to learn about the life cycle of a specific plant or animal. Keep track of where you got your information from. Select a plant or an animal that you can have easy access to and start making close observation. If you have had a pet for a long time, you might already have enough observation and be able to start writing your reports and preparing your display. Life cycle project requires lots of drawing, unless you have selected a small animal such as insects. In this case you can have real live or dead samples as well as drawing in your display too.

Before you start selecting your plant or animal for life cycle observation, visit http://www.fish.washington.edu/hatchery/salmon.html that is about the life cycle of salmon. This can show you what type information you need to gather about your subject and what type of drawing you need to make for your display. Another sample about Life Cycle of Salmon is the following: http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~dpugh/cycle.html

The life cycle of butterfly is among the interesting projects. If you want to do that click here http://www.enchantedlearning.com/bgifs/Bflylifecyclebw.GIF and print this picture for your display. Redraw it and paint it on a large poster board as a part of your display. Following are 3 more links for life cycle of butterflies:



  1. Butterfly Life Cycle(http://www.teachers.ash.org.au/jmresources/butlifecycle/lifecycl.html)
  2. http://www.guilford.k12.nc.us/webquests/butterflies2/butterflies.htm  
  3. http://www.state.ia.us/parks/lifecycl.htm 
  4. http://www.butterfly-guide.co.uk/life/index.htm
  5. http://www.exhibits.pacsci.org/insects/buttermoth.html
  6. http://www.shrewsbury-ma.gov/schools/beal/curriculum/butterfly/cycle/index.htm

Insects are another good subject for Life Cycle observation project. You can observe eggs, larva, pupa and adult insect in a relatively short period of time. Click here http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~insects/lcycle.htm for some information on insects life cycle.

Smaller than insects are bacteria and viruses. Just to get an idea about studies in life cycle of bacteria click on  Virus Life Cycle  to see a sample.

Some more samples are here:

Life Cycle of a Frog: http://allaboutfrogs.org/weird/general/cycle.html

The Ant Colony Cycle: http://research.amnh.org/entomology/social_insects/ants/ant_colony_cycle.html

Life Cycle of a star: http://spaceboy.nasda.go.jp/note/Hoshi/E/Hos01_e.html

Life Cycle of the Cicada Killer: http://www.culver.edu/Homepages/Faculty/Jcoelho/sphecius.htm

Life Cycle of Fast Plants:

The life cycles of an elephant: http://elephant.elehost.com/About_Elephants/Life_Cycles/life_cycles.html

Luna Moth: http://www.aa6g.org/Butterflies/Raised/luna.html

Question/ Purpose:

The purpose of this project is to make personal observations on the life cycle of a specific animal or plant. We will then prepare report and display to show what we have learned from this project. We make our display interesting and educational for others too.

Identify Variables:

Not needed for this project.


Based on your gathered information, make an educated guess about the plant or animal that you select for observation.

Experiment Design:

Select an animal or plant that has a short life span and you have easy and safe access to, for your observations. Make drawings and take pictures of different stages of the life of your subject. Write a report describing what you have observed. Use your report and drawings and pictures for your display. If you can, it is good to use your subject and it’s habitat (real or model) for your display.

You can email your report to your project advisor for final review.

Materials and Equipment:

Describe that material and equipment that you used for this observation. If you select a bird or animal that you can not get very close to, you may use binoculars, for small animals you may use a magnifier or even a microscope.

Camera and drawing board are among other things that you may use.

Results of Experiment (Observation):

Experiments are often done in series. A series of experiments can be done by changing one variable a different amount each time. A series of experiments is made up of separate experimental “runs.” During each run you make a measurement of how much the variable affected the system under study. For each run, a different amount of change in the variable is used. This produces a different amount of response in the system. You measure this response, or record data, in a table for this purpose. This is considered “raw data” since it has not been processed or interpreted yet. When raw data gets processed mathematically, for example, it becomes results.


Calculations are not usually required for this project.

Summary of Results:

Summarize what happened. This can be in the form of a table of processed numerical data, or graphs. It could also be a written statement of what occurred during experiments.

It is from calculations using recorded data that tables and graphs are made. Studying tables and graphs, we can see trends that tell us how different variables cause our observations. Based on these trends, we can draw conclusions about the system under study. These conclusions help us confirm or deny our original hypothesis. Often, mathematical equations can be made from graphs. These equations allow us to predict how a change will affect the system without the need to do additional experiments. Advanced levels of experimental science rely heavily on graphical and mathematical analysis of data. At this level, science becomes even more interesting and powerful.


Using the trends in your experimental data and your experimental observations, try to answer your original questions. Is your hypothesis correct? Now is the time to pull together what happened, and assess the experiments you did.

Related Questions & Answers:

What you have learned may allow you to answer other questions. Many questions are related. Several new questions may have occurred to you while doing experiments. You may now be able to understand or verify things that you discovered when gathering information for the project. Questions lead to more questions, which lead to additional hypothesis that need to be tested.

Possible Errors:

If you did not observe anything different than what happened with your control, the variable you changed may not affect the system you are investigating. If you did not observe a consistent, reproducible trend in your series of experimental runs there may be experimental errors affecting your results. The first thing to check is how you are making your measurements. Is the measurement method questionable or unreliable? Maybe you are reading a scale incorrectly, or maybe the measuring instrument is working erratically.

If you determine that experimental errors are influencing your results, carefully rethink the design of your experiments. Review each step of the procedure to find sources of potential errors. If possible, have a scientist review the procedure with you. Sometimes the designer of an experiment can miss the obvious.


List of References