monarch butterfly migration maps and sightings Monarch Migration and Milkweed Maps Monarch Butterfly Facts Monarch Migration News Monarch Butterfly Home Page Report Your Sightings! Monarch Butterfly Resources Monarch Home Page Journey North Home Kids Monarch Butterfly

Teaching Suggestions
Why Do Monarchs Form Roosts During Fall Migration?
(Back to Slideshow Overview)


Scientists have many questions about where, how, and why monarchs form roosts during fall migration. Find out what is known about overnight roosts and explore the many mysteries that remain.

Essential Question:

What can we learn about fall migration
by studying overnight roosts?


Set the Stage for Learning

1. Preview title and photo. Ask questions to assess prior knowledge as students view slideshow cover:

  • What are the monarchs doing?
  • When do monarchs gather in clusters?
  • Why do you think so many butterflies are gathered together in these branches?
The Annual Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly

2. Preview images in the Photo Gallery. On large chart paper, post the essential question:

  • What can we learn about fall migration by studying overnight roosts?

Have students make pre-reading predictions based on details they see in the photos.

Photo gallery

3. Preview vocabulary using Word Cards. Read aloud each word. Have students predict how the words may be related to the essential question:

  • What can we learn about fall migration by studying overnight roosts?


Word Cards


Viewing the Slideshow

As a class, read through the slideshow. 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 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 to reread the slideshow's text. Challenge them to mark up the text by identifying fact statements (F), questions (?), and quotes (QT). Encourage them to jot notes in the margin to capture their own thoughts and questions with the information they read.

2. Use graphic organizers to help students explore the text:
  • On the 5 W's and H chart, have students work with a partner to brainstorm and organize questions related to monarch roosts.
  • On the FQQ chart, have students record fact sentences, questions, and observers' quotes found in the text. Provide time for a class discussion to share discoveries, questions, and overall responses.

3. Study fall migration maps. Use the journal page to help students describe and compare data shown on All Sightings and Overnight Roost maps.

The Annual Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly
Wrap Up

1. Ask Assessment and Reflection Questions

Encourage readers to summarize their learning and think beyond the text with questions like these:

  • Where do monarchs form their roosts?
  • Why do you think roosting monarchs flash their wings?
  • Why do you think monarchs form roosts during fall migration?
  • How do observers who report sightings help scientists learn about the fall migration of monarchs?


2. Read Published Findings

Journey North has been mapping fall roosts since 2002. The data were recently published in a scientific paper:

Copyright 1997-2017 Journey North ( All Rights Reserved. Search