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Teaching Suggestions
The Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly
(Back to Slideshow Overview)

Introduction

From egg to adult, learn about the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. Invite your students to explore this question using facts and photos in this slideshow:

Essential Question:
What are the stages of the monarch's life cycle?

Set the Stage for Learning

1. Display the cover. Ask questions while viewing cover image to assess prior knowledge:

  • How big is a monarch butterfly egg?
  • From egg to adult, how many stages are in a monarch's life cycle?
  • How long does it take a monarch to develop from an egg into an adult butterfly?
Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle | El Cyclo de Vida de la Mariposa Monarca
2. Preview images in the Photo Gallery (English/Spanish). On large chart paper, post the essential question: What are the stages of the monarch's life cycle? Have students make pre-reading predictions based on details they see in the photos.
Photo gallery

3. Preview vocabulary using Word Cards (English/Spanish). Have students work with a partner to read aloud each word. Have them predict how the words may be related to the essential question: What are the stages of the monarch's life cycle?

 

Word Cards
Viewing the Slideshow

As a class, read through the pages of the slideshow (English/Spanish) together. Stop occasionally to spotlight key words and ideas or ask questions. Encourage students to share their own questions sparked by the information and images.

Optional printed booklets (English/Spanish) of slideshow can be copied and assembled for partner or at-home reading.

Revisit for Understanding

1. Reread the selection. Place students in small groups and have them reread the slideshow's text (English/Spanish) together. Have them record 10 key words on an index card. Challenge them to summarize the main ideas using the key words on their cards.

2. Read with fluency and expression. Pair students. Provide a copy of the text-only page (English/Spanish). Invite them to read aloud the text together in a variety of ways. This text page can also be used as an oral reading assessment.

3. Review the life cycle. Print the Life Cycle Puzzle Page and cut into pieces. Challenge students to sequence the events of the monarch's life cycle. Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle Puzzle

4. Create a Life Cycle Circle Book or timeline. Place students in small groups. Have them use images from the Photo Gallery page to showcase the stages of the monarch's life cycle.

5. Ask Assessment Questions. Encourage readers to summarize their learning and think beyond the text with questions like these:

  • How big is a monarch butterfly egg?
  • What are the stages of the monarch's life cycle?
  • From egg to adult, how many stages are in the life cycle?
  • How long does it take a monarch to develop from an egg into an adult butterfly? (Students add up the lowest and highest number of days for each stage. When does it grow the fastest (fewest days)? the slowest? How long is an average life cycle stage?
  • Why do you think a female monarch lays her eggs only on milkweed leaves?"
  • Why does the author list a range of days for each life stage? (Temperature affects how quickly monarchs develop. Warmer temperatures speed things up.)
Wrap Up
1. Observe and Report  

At what life cycle stages are your local monarchs right now? What examples can you find outdoors?

Monarch Butterflies nectaring at New England aster.

Report Your Sightings!

2. Track Monarch Migration

As monarchs migrate, predict when and where they will travel.

Map: Habitat Projects

More Journey North Lessons
A Day in the Life of a Butterfly Egg
How Many Eggs Can a Single Monarch Lay?

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