the Monarch Migration/Grade 4
Kust investigating damage at monarch sanctuaries in Mexico
by Dave Kust
Grade 4, Breck
much class time per week do you spend mapping the monarch migration?
average, it probably takes about 20 minutes per week (minimum)
if you are mapping the migration as a whole group, using one
big map. However, for me it can vary between 5 minutes a week
to 5 hours a week! For example, if I am doing lessons that
relate to the most recent migration update, and having students
make individual migration maps, I might spend up to an hour
you maintain a class map or do individual students maintain
their own maps?
plot migration data on the map, do your students use the
latitude and longitude readings, or the city/state/province
you print out the data from the web and give ALL of the data
to the students? Or, if there is a large volume of data,
do you map only a few locations so it's simpler for them?
I print out the data sheet, or they retrieve the update from
the Web themselves. When students are plotting data on smaller,
individual maps I sometimes reduce the number of data points
that we plot.
do you use to mark your migration map(s)?
- A. We
use colored dots (stickers) or we make dots with magic markers.
you divide your students into groups or do they work alone?
done both. However, it works best when students work in
pairs or small groups--or in one big group.
- Q: What
mapping skills do 4th grade students need to map the migration?
1) Basic knowledge about locations of US, Mexican and Canadian states and
provinces, as well as how to find cities on a map.
2) An understanding of latitude and longitude.
3) Skill at using the distance scale of miles/kilometers on maps can also
4th grade students have trouble finding the locations
by themselves? (One 2nd grade teacher said she had the
students try to find locations themselves, then confirm
accuracy with the teacher before marking locations on
their maps. Do you do anything like this?)
No, most of my fourth graders can simply look at a map and
find the state/province and city. However, a few may need
help from the actual Journey North migration map included
with the latest update, and/or a map showing latitude and
longitude and cities.
an Inquiry-based Discussion
- Q: Do
you discuss the map? What kinds of questions do you ask?
- A. Certainly!
I ask all the of the same questions you pose in the updates,
and Challenge Questions as well. For example:
* Where are the butterflies going next?
* Name all the state/provinces they have flown through and will fly through.
* What are the past, current, and predicted weather conditions for these
* What direction are they going, why are they going that way?
* How long did it/will it take, per day, per week, per month?
* Do you see any patterns?
* What is happening west of the Rockies?
* Can we map this in a different way?