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The Monarch Butterfly

Elementary

Description

This multi-lesson unit has students explore concepts including butterfly’s life cycle, pollination, plant growth, and migration. They will recognize that people have complex relationships with Monarchs and the plants which sustain them. Students will discuss ways humans interact with Monarchs, how human activities can threaten Monarch survival, and consider actions they can take to conserve pollinator species. Students will also explore many facets of plants, including structure, function, and importance.The unit is divided into lessons specific for grade levels 1 to 3, including multiple activities that can be used independently or as a monthly unit.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Observation
  • Analysis
  • Classification
  • Use of scientific equipment
  • Communication and critical thinking
  • Community mapping
  • Habitat restoration and lose

Strengths

  • Extremely well organized with all of the handouts and worksheets easily accessible.
  • Includes a large variety of learning experiences with an emphasis on active learning.
  • Each module can be taught independently providing a great deal of flexibility in delivery.

Weaknesses

  • Activities are designed to meet the Ontario science curriculum standards for the grades indicated, however some teachers may wish to adjust activities slightly for a different grade.
  • The recommended books are not included and must be purchased.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The lessons in this resource support curriculum outcomes related to the diversity of life, interactions within ecosystems and ecological sustainability. Because students learn about the importance of pollinating insects and the effects this can have on plants, including the growth of fruits and vegetables, there is an opportunity to develop an integrated Science/Health unit that examines food production from the context of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being environmentally friendly. Students will learn what it means when talking about habitat loss and climate change and how it affects the life cycle and why it is important to live a sustainable life.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world.
        • Investigating change and the diversity of Earth’s systems helps us to develop understandings of the conditions necessary to sustain life
        • The child explores familiar places and things in the environment and community
        • The child uses materials in the environment and community and becomes aware of how others use materials
    • Grade 1
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        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world
        • Investigating change and the diversity of Earth’s systems helps us to develop understandings of the conditions necessary to sustain life
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      • Math
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        • Visualizing and describing spatial relationships through geometry enhances interpretations of the physical world
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world.
        • Investigating change and the diversity of Earth’s systems helps us to develop understandings of the conditions necessary to sustain life.
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world.
    • Grade 3
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world.
        • Investigating change and the diversity of Earth’s systems helps us to develop understandings of the conditions necessary to sustain life.
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        • Science: Daily and seasonal changes affect all living things.
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        • Concrete items can be represented, compared, and interpreted pictorially in graphs.
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        • Science 3: Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in their ecosystems
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        • Characteristics and Needs of Living Things
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        • You and Your World: Our Environment
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        • Exploring My World: Living and Nonliving Things
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        • Primary Science: Living Things
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  • Prince Edward Island
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        • Daily and Seasonal Changes
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        • Daily and Seasonal Changes
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    • Grade 2
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      • Math
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Statistics and Probability
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Animal Growth and Changes
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science: Daily and seasonal changes affect all living things.
        • Science: Humans interact with matter every day through familiar materials.
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1: Living things have features and behaviours that help them survive in their environment
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Local Communities:: We shape the local environment, and the local environment shapes who we are and how we live.
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Math
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Concrete items can be represented, compared, and interpreted pictorially in graphs.
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 2: Living things have life cycles adapted to their environment
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 3: Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in their ecosystems

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (3)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Biodiversity
    • Wildlife Protection
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Habitat Restoration

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

This resource leads students through an understanding of the connections between plants and pollinators.  This fosters an appreciation of the vital role of insects in their own lives. Students are also actively engaged in considering the conservation challenges that face pollinating insects and their habitats.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

As students learn about the process of pollination, they will deepen their understanding of threats these insects are faced with by human activity or climate change. Thus, the connection between environmental and economic sustainability is made while the social implications of habitat security is highlighted.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

Students are able to explore scientific cause and effect relationships and use this information to describe interactions within ecosystems and develop new ideas about conservation.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

By providing an in-depth exploration of insects that are most often seen as disgusting creatures, this resource will help develop a new appreciation of pollinators.  Conservation often focuses on more appealing species, so it is important that students have an opportunity to gain insight into the connections between all living things.  This learning unit provides a platform for this self discovery.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

With multiple outdoor exploration activities students have a chance to realize the importance all living things have with the Earth. 

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

Insects play a vital role in the agricultural economy of many regions of Canada, so this issue is relevant across the country.  On a more personal level, students will also make a connection between their explorations and the food they buy at grocery stores and farmer's markets.  A focus on local habitat conservation is also an integral component of this resource.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

There are many opportunities for students to establish connections with prior learning through inquiry-based activities that develop reasoning skills and uses critical thinking skills.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

This resource has been developed to primarily support science outcomes but can be used in relation to other subjects.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

The activities encourage interaction and engagement with nature in a manner that provides many opportunities for students to move beyond the parameters of the lesson to make new discoveries.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good

There are no specific differentiation strategies but there are a variety of learning options in each module.  Students will participate in hands-on nature exploration and videos are provided for our auditory and visual learners. 

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good

All of the activities incorporate a hands-on approach that engages students in a meaningful learning experience.  

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Good
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

Collecting habitat data within their own community and school yards ensures that students are exploring this topic in a relevant context.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good

The balance between classroom instruction and discussions as well as outdoor exploration provides students with many opportunities to direct their own learning.  

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.