This slideshow tells a story of discovery. Students learn that scientists did not know about the monarch's winter home in Mexico until 1975. Scientists discovered that monarchs migrate each fall to an astonishingly small region in Mexico that measures only 73 miles wide. Within it, the monarchs gather on only 12 mountain sanctuaries where they cluster in colonies by the tens of millions. These mountain sanctuaries provide the unique conditions monarchs need to survive the winter, from November until mid-March. Use this story as a springboard to explore the essential question:
Identify Scientists' Questions
Explore Rare Habitat
Measure and Compare
about "microclimates" by finding examples in your surroundings.
(Brainstorm what this word might mean. Try breaking it down into the
words "micro" and "climate.") Have
students take temperature readings in different locations on your school
grounds. The areas you explore may have different microclimates.
Differences in temperature, humidity, wind, and exposure to the sun
are factors that can cause microclimate conditions. (See
Writing Prompt: Discuss this statement: "The fact that the monarchs can survive for five winter months in Mexico is as amazing as the monarch's spectacular migration." Compare facts about fall monarch migration and the monarch's overwintering season in Mexico.