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Mystery Monarch Adaptation
How Does it Help the Creature Survive?


Overview: Students explore fascinating close-up images of a part of a young monarch and ponder how this structural adaptation helps the animal survive in its environment.

Activity, Part 1: Laying the Groundwork
Click to enlarge photo

The inquiry process begins when students experience a phenomenon that raises compelling questions!

  1. Show students the image to the right. Without revealing what they are seeing, ask students:

    * How would you describe what you see?
    * What does it remind you of?
    * What do you suppose it is?

  2. Next, reveal that this picture is actually a part of a young monarch magnified 180 times. It is an example of a physical adaptation: a part of its body that helps it survive in its habitat.

    Share this hint: A monarch has this body part only during the two weeks the young monarch needs it
    . Pose these challenge questions:

    * What part of a monarch do you think this is?
    * What do you think it does or helps the monarch do?
    * What clues did you get from your observations?
    * How might it help the monarch survive?

Next: Take Another Look > >

National Science Standards

  • Ask a question about objects, organisms, or events. (K-4)
  • Each plant or animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, reproduction. (K-4)
  • Living systems at all levels of organization demonstrate the complementary nature of structure and function. (5-8)
  • Biological adaptations include changes in structures, behaviors, or physiology that enhance survival and reproductive success in a particular environment. (5-8)

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