Students raising milkweed and monarchs for classroom projects from Pinecrest 2nd grade class, Greenwood, South Carolina.
There are basic techniques and fundamental knowledge about monarch butterflies that students need to successfully engage in inquiry-based activities. Students can gain a solid foundation for working with monarchs from a variety of sources. Click here for more information on inquiry-based learning materials using monarchs in the classroom. Additionally, we have created several activities for teachers to use in the classroom to help understand aspects of monarch conservation:
1)Give your Monarch a physical!: This activity allows students to use a MonarchHealth kit to check monarchs for OE parasites and assess physical conditions of the butterflies using measurements such as forewing length, wing damage, and fat storage. This exercise is most appropriate for grades 7-12.
Photos by Sonia Altizer
Click here for all activity materials including overview for instructor and classroom worksheets.
2)Population Dynamics: In this follow up activity to Lesson 1 (Give Your Monarch a Physical!), students will compile and analyze class data for a monarch population. Students will use information from the individual monarch physicals to analyze the physical characteristics of a population of monarch butterflies. They will make mathematical calculations and graphs to describe the population and a typical member of the population. This exercise is most appropriate for grades 7-12.
For our teachers in Georgia, click the links below for various Performance Standards Correlation info:
3)Scales and Spores!: This classroom activitiy allows students to replicate the procedures that scientists in the Altizer lab at the University of Georgia use when analyzing MonarchHealth samples. Students will become more familar with the scienitific techinques used to analyze the samples they send into MonarchHealth. Students will learn how to identify and count parasite spores and use a standard conversion table to score and describe rates of parasite infection of the butterflies.
An example of a slide with both butterfly scales and OE spores . Red arrows indicate OE spores, while yellow arrows show scales.
Click here for all activity materials including overview for instructor and here for classroom worksheets.
Click on each link below for several different photographed slides of various infection levels in monarchs. Copies or transparencies can be used to have students try to count the number of spores in their sample and determine the monarch infection status.
How to Score Monarch Infections: When determining how infected monarchs are with OE, we use the scale below: