Fall Monarch Migration

Elementary, Middle


This resource engages students in a study of wildlife migration by tracking the fall flight of monarch butterflies to Mexico. Using an on-line tool, Canadian students track monarch butterfly sightings in early fall, along with students from the United States and Mexico.

Before beginning the tracking activity, students learn how to identify a monarch butterfly, relate changing seasonal habitat to the timing of migration, and are trained to calculate migration rates and submit sighting reports. 'Migration Journals" are used to chronicle each step in the process.

The package includes parent letters, maps, slide shows, planning guides, journal pages, many reproducibles, related links, suggested activities, and word glossaries.

A  brief description of each lesson follows.

Lesson One: The Magic of Monarch Butterfly Migration (3X60min)

After reading "The Migration of Monarch Butterfly", students locate their home province and the monarch's winter home on a map of North America. Research questions are then explored and keywords defined in "Migration Journals".

Lesson Two: Do You Know A Monarch When You See One? (3X60min)

After reading "Do You Know  A Monarch When You See One?", students do a scientific illustration of a monarch butterfly, compare and contrast a monarch and viceroy butterfly using a Venn diagram, and discover words and concepts related to butterfly parts and identification. Students share and discuss their work.

Lesson Three: When, Where and How To Watch Fall Migration  (5X60min)

After viewing a Power Point presentation, students describe three ways to monitor fall migration, read and analyze real monarch observations, calculate migration rates, list essential items in a sighting report, and submit a practice sighting report to the Journey North website.

Lesson Four: Fall Habitat Observations (7X60min)

After discussing how a monarch's habitat provides the basic needs for survival, students collect and analyze data on how seasonal changes relate to the timing of fall migration. They use this data to predict the timing of fall migration in their community. Findings are summarized and presented in booklets, scrapbooks, or discovery posters.

Lesson Five: Follow The Migration

Students use the on-line tool to report regularly on monarch butterfly sightings in their areas. They continue to record interesting data and information in their journals as well.


General Assessment

Themes Addressed

Relevant Curriculum Units