of the Monarch's Spring Migration
As the monarchs pour out of Mexico in the spring, where do you think they
will arrive first, and what pathway do you suppose they will travel? Think
about this question and make some predictions as you watch the butterflies
spread throughout their northern breeding range. Then form a hypothesis
as to why the monarchs travel where they do.
Print a copy
of the blank
monarch migration map and the Migration
Route Prediction Chart for each student or student group.
students to predict the route of the monarch migration from Mexico,
as the butterflies enter the United States in the spring. Ask, In
which U.S. states do you think the butterflies will arrive first, second,
third, and so on? Have them draw their predicted route on the blank
migration map. They should then record the names of the states where
they predict the monarchs will arrive in the left-hand column of the
Route Prediction Chart.
- Ask students
to explain the thinking behind their predictions and respond to one
or both of these questions in their journals:
do you think the migration will travel in the direction you predicted?
(What do you already know or what have you observed in the past?)
- As the
monarch migration progresses, have students record the names of the
states where the butterflies actually arrived, in chronological order.
Adaptation for younger students: Simply have students count
and name the states where the monarchs have arrived.
- Have students
routinely revisit their predictions and explanations each time they
receive a new update. If they make changes, ask, What new information
or observations caused you to revise your thinking?
- At the
end of the season, ask students to describe the patterns they saw and
compare them with their initial predictions. Ask them to form hypotheses
to explain why the butterflies traveled when and where they did. (For
instance, "Butterflies move to areas near water where the temperatures
are warmer.") Ask, How could we test our hypotheses?
Connections — Journaling and Discussion Questions
- In what
ways was the migration similar to your original prediction?
- In what
ways was the migration different than you predicted? Explain what you
did not know originally that caused your prediction to be off.
- What did
you learn about climate and geography from tracking the migration?
- What did
you learn about monarch biology?
As you listen to discussions, review student journals, and see how students
revise prediction charts and maps, use the Making
Predictions Using Data rubric.