Fly, Students Walk
Who Will Reach the Monarch's Winter Home in Mexico First?
grader racing monarchs to Mexico, with his pedometer
Jo Zimmel, the physical education teacher at Garlough Elementary Magnet
School in St. Paul, MN.
we released monarchs to fly south the students started wearing pedometers
during their school day. At the end of each day they record their steps.
At the end of the week they add them up. We are combining all of the students
steps and recording mileage.
The distance to the monarch's winter home near Angangueo, Michoacan, Mexico
from St. Paul, Minnesota, USA is 1,836 miles.
will get to Mexico first, the students or the butterflies? What do you
think? Read about our project and find out!
Pedometers (1 per student), calculators, "responsibility book"
Before the migration
One week prior to the start students were reminded in their Physical Education
classes about use of pedometer: how to put on, how to read the numbers,
how to put it away in the box, etc.
4th grade class has pedometers for each student, so there is a possibility
of 63 pedometers every school day. I wore a pedometer each day and included
my steps, too.
During the migration
Each morning of the week the students come into their classrooms and put
their pedometers on. They wear them the whole school day. When the day
is over they record their steps on the sheet in their "responsibility
book" and put the pedometers back in the box. (If you need more information
on how to organize pedometers I can send that.)
On Monday the students use their calculators and add up the steps and
convert them into miles. The miles are then e-mailed to me and I do the
recording on our Journey South map. I also do morning announcements to
the whole school about where the 4th graders are and where the butterflies
We are looking forward to doing it in spring to track the butterflies
coming home to the northern region.
start date was Thursday, Sept 11.
October 2nd (Week 3) the Garlough Elementary Magnet School kids
made it to San Antonio, Texas. The butterflies were arriving in
fall it took 6 weeks to arrive at our destination. (See box to
would the math work out in your school?
fall, Garlough Elementary had 51 people wearing pedometers. It took
6 weeks (30 school days) to log 1,836 miles. That's 61.2 miles per
day, or 1.2 miles per person.
Here are comments about the project from last year's 4th graders:
Should 4th graders do it again next year?
was fun to compete with the butterflies.
we got behind the butterflies we wanted to win so we started moving
more at recess.
paid a lot more attention to how the butterflies were migrating because
I wanted to beat them.
butterflies were slowed up by weather. We were slowed up by not moving
enough, some people loosing their pedometers, not remembering to put
on our pedometers away and leaving them at home, not recording their
steps before removing them, and having vacations.
I am glad it was hot in Texas so we could get ahead.
had to think of games to exercise more at recess.
teacher knew were having a hard time getting enough steps so as a
class we all took a long hike over at the nature center.
a time when we had everyone together was big problem.
math was difficult but became easier by the end.
life application of addition is worth the time.
will be revised to make the math easier.
thought is was well worth it.
time project has a few problems but all want to do it again.
this math difficult for 4th graders? YES! The teachers decided it
was worth the effort.