Hands-on learning! I was able to find these models of different animals, and their life cycles, from a local craft store. I grabbed all of the ones they had! They were great teaching models for life cycles, as well as metamorphosis.
I used mealworms this year in a class that I covered science on prep. I would have loved to have had the students countless more animals go through their life cycle, but at least having models that they can hold and touch was very beneficial.
Students were placed in small groups and I gave them the hand out (link below) to draw a sketch of each of the animals and their life cycle.
I asked students to put them in order of their first stage to their last and then create a diagram with lots of detail. They used their models to sketch and observe closely. It was a great way to explore how these animals transform.
Download: Life Cycle Diagrams