Strategies for using the Monarch Butterfly Google Earth Tour and Podcasts With Your Students
- Before watching the video, discuss what students already know about Monarch Butterflies.
- Ask students to predict what they might learn from this google earth tour about monarch migration.
- After watching the video, look @ a map of North America and draft out the path (and timeline) of the monarch’s migration.
- Ask students what they think some of the next research questions might be for scientists studying the monarch butterflies.
- What are some of the things that citizen scientists and regular people are doing to help monarch butterflies? How might you help?
Q: Monarch butterflies search for habitat that includes milkweed plants. Why is milkweed so important?
A: Milkweed is important for 2 reasons. One, monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants. The second reason is that milkweed is the only type of plant that the monarch caterpillars will eat.
Q: What are some of the obstacles that monarch butterflies face on their long migration?
A: Predators (birds, ants, spiders, moths), bad weather, and lack of suitable habitat (milkweed).
Q: How many generations of butterflies does it take to complete one round trip migration journey?
A: It takes 4 generations. The monarchs leave Mexico and head to the SE U.S. where they lay their eggs. The monarchs that left Mexico only live for about a month. The migration continues when the eggs they have laid hatch and transform from caterpillars to butterflies. The new butterflies head north to the midwest and northern U.S, as well as southern Canada.
overwintering (verb) to wait out the winter season.
colony (noun) a term that describes a group of species that live together.
migration (verb) a regular or seasonal journey from one place to another.
habitat (noun) a place which serves as a home for a plant or animal.
milkweed (noun) a type of plant that monarch butterflies rely on for laying eggs and for food.
metamorphosis (verb) a transformation. In the case of butterflies, it is a transformation from a caterpillar to a chrysalis (pupa stage) to a butterfly.
organism (noun) an animal, fungus, micro-organism, or plant.
chrysalis (noun) in the stage of a butterfly's life, called the pupa, the chrysalis is the hard outer layer that protects the pupa.
herbicides (noun) a natural or chemical pesticide to kills unwanted plants .
Citizen scientists (noun) everyday people involved in scientific discovery and conservation, usually at a local level.