Every fall, a magical event takes place in the animal world.
Perhaps traveling over your own head right now--or clustered
by the hundreds in a nearby tree--the annual monarch butterfly
migration to Mexico is underway. By instinct alone, the butterflies
go to the same mountains that their ancestors left the previous
spring. Somehow, they find a place in Mexico that they've never
seen before. Monarch butterflies are born knowing everything
they need to survive, so we look on with wonder:
do the monarchs know when to go to Mexico?
do they know which way to fly?
fast, how far, and how high
do they travel?
how do they know when they have arrived--at
a small speck on the planet where they've never been before?
students to the magic of monarch migration using the facts,
photos, and maps in this booklet. In addition to an overview
of monarch migration, this booklet concludes with an invitation
to track monarchs on their trip to and from Mexico with Journey
Teacher Guide Includes:
Goals and Objectives:
a sense of wonder about monarchs and migration.
students to be citizen scientists, actively engaged in real-world,
real-time, scientific inquiry with Journey North as your guide.
students? scientific journey by asking questions-for-research
and exploring where and how answers might be found.
After reading The Magic of Monarch Butterfly Migration
their home state/province and the monarch's winter home in
Mexico on a map of North America.
research questions about monarchs and migration in their "Magic
of Monarch Migration" Journals.
key words and concepts from the reading selection: habitat,
instinct, migrate, migration, track and citizen science.
Materials List and Helpful Handouts
the text first as a reader and then as an instructor. As you
read through the booklet/slideshow text, use this planning guide
to capture your thoughts: observations, questions, discoveries,
vocabulary, possible teaching applications, etc. Share your
thinking process with students to model effective reading strategies.
Set the Stage for Learning
Bring a suitcase to class. Attach a tag and write Mexico
on it. Invite students to take a scientific journey
with you to Mexico. Wonder aloud and record your questions on
a class "wonder" chart. (The class will revisit the
questions on this chart at the end of the lesson, and discover
that monarchs can do these things by instinct.)
anyone here know which direction we would need to go to
get to Mexico?
we go north, east, south or west?
you find Mexico by yourself?
would help us to find the way?
would we pack to keep ourselves warm, dry, and safe?
many miles would we need to travel?
we went without a vehicle, how long would it take us?
we need to stop along the way? What for?
we were traveling by foot, at what time of year would it
be best to leave our hometown?
After filling students' heads with pre-journey wonder, announce:
I think we need a tour guide to help us learn answers.
Peek inside the suitcase and pull out each of the following
items one at a time without revealing any information: A
monarch butterfly photo; a map of North America, a Journey North
suitcase tag with website address, The Magic of Monarch Migration
booklets, a stack of journal covers and first journal pages.
Place these things on a display table without any discusssion.
As kids ask questions, simply add the questions to the ?wonder?
chart you started at the beginning of this activity.
Now reveal what students will learn and do during this unit
of study as they follow the monarch butterfly on its journey
south to Mexico.
is our tour guide? (The monarch butterfly!)
will we travel with the monarch? (Using technology and
real-time maps. On
the Internet, show students Journey
North's monarch butterfly home page with
its live monarch migration maps.)
will be going with us? (Students from across North America
who are following monarchs to Mexico as citizen scientists.
Kids from Canada, Mexico and every state in the United
States will join us.)
kind of journey is it? (Scientific.)
will we be doing on the trip? (Just like real scientists
who study monarchs, we will be citizen scientists who
observe, ask questions, collect data, and analyze information
to find answers.)
Introduce the booklet or slideshow by reading the title aloud:
The Magic of Monarch Migration. Think
aloud by sharing your thoughts about the book based on its title:
makes me think...
(amazing and hard to believe)
makes me think...(something can't be explained and everybody
wonders how or why)
I watch magicians, I always wonder how did they do that?
Ask students: Why do you think the author used the word
magic in the title of this book about monarch
migration? In what ways might monarch migration be magical?
Invite brief response from students.
the booklet or view the slideshow as a class. Model
your sense of wonder by thinking aloud questions as you read
each page. For example (after reading about the mountains
in Mexico on page two): I wonder
what makes this region the perfect winter habitat for monarchs.
Why do monarchs choose Mexico?s mountains for their winter
Reading: Revisit for Understanding
Introduce Science Journals: To document our journey
this year we'll keep journals where we'll record what we see,
learn, and wonder about.
Covers (or have students make their own) and the first
journal page: My
Questions for Research. Invite
students to revisit each page of the booklet and write questions
on their journal page. For example, after reading that monarchs
travel from Canada to Mexico, students may ask:
many miles is the journey?
long does the trip take?
monarchs make nonstop flights to Mexico?
far can a monarch travel in one day?
Place students in small groups and distribute The
5 W's and H Research Chart to each student group for brainstorming.
Invite them to share and compare the questions they collected
on their individual Journal pages. Challenge them to extend
their list of research questions. The chart requires them
to write ?Who, Where, What, Why, When, and How? questions.
tracks monarchs on their seasonal journeys?
are monarchs sighted at different times of the year?
do monarchs need to survive?
do monarchs migrate?
do monarchs begin their journey south to Mexico?
do monarchs need to survive?
can we ensure that monarchs survive and thrive now and in
Explain to students: Monarchs are born knowing
how and when to migrate hundreds of miles to Mexico. People
need suitcases, maps, clocks, technology to find their way to
Mexico. They must learn where to go or be led by another person.
Monarchs know how to travel by instinct. They come equipped
with everything they need to migrate and they know how to find
what they need from their habitat as they travel. As
we travel with the monarchs this fall, we'll see what scientists
know about monarch migration and we'll discover how much more
there is to learn about the magic of monarch migration.
Journey North Lessons and Links
Lesson: How is a Human Vacation Like an Animal Migration?
During one class session, students are asked to compare and
contrast human travel with animal migration using a two-column
chart. Use this lesson to help students gain an appreciation
for the remarkable journey monarchs undertake each year: How
do monarchs find their way to Mexico without a map to guide
them? How do they know where to go and how to get there? How
do they survive changes in weather without packing a suitcase
of supplies? Can you imagine traveling thousands of miles
alone?shortly after your birth (like monarchs do in the fall)?
Lesson: Learning vs. Instinct
back to school! Children are returning to school this fall
to begin their year learning skills they'll need in life.
Monarch butterflies are born knowing everything they need
to survive. As
they learn about monarchs, have students record examples of
the monarch's instincts. Also have
students interview parents to find out what human babies do
by instinct. Find out what a scientist says are advantages
and disadvantages of learning and instinct.
Lesson: Life Cycle Sleuth
Use questions to initiate your study of monarchs and migration
with this related lesson: ?Life-Cycle Sleuth: Students Develop
Theories about Migration.? This lesson asks students to think
about why animals migrate. The Life Cycle Sleuth
checklist provides overarching questions that can be used
in conjunction with the Questions for Research chart provided
above in this guide.
Link: Life Cycle Booklet/Slideshow
The above activity would be a great bridge to this booklet/slideshow:
Link: Annual Cycle Booklet/Slideshow
Several generations of monarchs live and migrate over the
course of a year. This is known as the monarch's annual
cycle. The following slideshow and animation illustrate
this annual cycle:
Words for this Booklet/Slideshow
and Synonyms in the Context of Monarch Migration
Build understanding of key concepts by exploring these
vocabulary words in context.
science (noun): a scientific study that involves ordinary
people, rather than professionally-trained scientists.
(noun): natural surroundings in which an organism lives. The
place that provides an organism's basic needs for survival and/or
reproduction: air, food, water, shelter and space. Synonyms:
natural home, environment
(noun): born with knowledge; know without the need to learn.
Synonyms: a sense of, intuition
(verb): to move to a different habitat, usually according
to the changing seasons. Synonym: to move seasonally
(noun): the journey to a different habitat, usually according
to the changing seasons. Synonym: seasonal movement
Range (noun): a series of related mountains.
(noun): area of land. Synonyms: locale
(verb): follow the migratory path; keep a record of events.
Synonyms: study, research, examine
Vocabulary Riddles: Read aloud the title of
the booklet/slideshow. Review the definition of synonyms: words
that have similar meanings. Challenge students to make predictions
about words they may encounter in the book by creating vocabulary
riddles: I am a noun. In the thesaurus, I can be found with
synonyms such as place, territory, area, section. I am six letters.
I start with the letter R. Who am I? (region) Record predictions
without confirming their responses. Read the booklet and ask
students to find the words for each riddle. Encourage them to
read aloud the sentence in which the word appeared and summarize
its use pertaining to monarchs.
Word Capture and Conquer: (During and After
Reading Activity) Have students circle or underline unfamiliar
words as they read the text. Encourage them to write predictions
or questions about the words in the margin of the booklet. Ask
them to be ready to share each word they ?captured? from their
reading. To ?conquer? each word, they must be able to give a
definition, list synonyms or related words, and use it accurately
in a sentence.
Vocabulary with Journey North
your own Monarch Migration word wall or glossary by collecting
words and definitions throughout the year.
students to create crossword puzzles using definitions for
Across and Down clues.
additional ideas, see: Building
Vocabulary with Journey North