Hi Homeschool Families! Welcome Back!
The month of September marks the important migration for the most recognizable butterfly: the monarch. These large butterflies must fly down to Mexico to escape the cold Kansas winters. They can fly up to 3,000 miles!
Migration is a hard journey, full of dangers and hardships. Can you think of a few challenges a butterfly might face when migrating?
Together, as a family, download and print this migration board game to play and discover just how difficult it can be for a monarch to reach its destination. If you don’t have access to a printer, contact the library for a copy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 913-295-8250 opt. 2
**Board game does not include game pieces. Collect your own using natural items like leaves, twigs or acorns!***
All butterflies begin their life cycle as an egg. From the egg hatches the larva. We call the larva a caterpillar. The monarch caterpillar will eat milkweed for 10-14 days. After eating all it can, the pupa stage will begin. The caterpillar will from a chrysalis (cocoon if it’s a moth) around its body and begin the biggest change of its life. This change is called metamorphosis. The life cycle ends with the adult butterfly.
As if migration wasn’t enough of a challenge, the caterpillars also face a problem. The only food they eat is a plant called milkweed.
Unfortunately, it is endangered. Endangered means there aren’t as many plants growing as there used to be and that makes it difficult for the caterpillars to find enough food to eat. Something we can all do to help is learn how to identify milkweed, save the plants growing in our neighborhood and planting new milkweed plants. Milkweed and monarchs are both endangered.
But how can you plant milkweed if you don’t have a garden at home? Milkweed can grow in a lot of places, even in a roadside ditch.
Scientists have been working hard to help our endangered monarch butterflies but they need our help! You can become a citizen scientist by learning to tag butterflies. By placing a small sticker on their wing (yes, really!), scientists can track which butterflies survive migration.
Check out this amazing video from Monarch Watch explaining the tagging process.
Critical Thinking Questions and Expansion:
- What would change if monarch caterpillars could eat more than just one type of plant?
- Why aren’t other butterflies facing similar problems?
- What is another species that only eats one type of food? Are they endangered?
- Why do monarchs only eat milkweed?
- How can you tell the difference between male and female monarchs?
- Check out monarchwatch.org for more information, order tagging kits and more!
More things for the month of September
- Insect Photo Contest: submissions due Sept. 4!!
- Coloring Contest: submissions due Sept. 30
- Butterfly Festival
- Virtual Scavenger hunt using #SchlagleBF2020
- Take Home craft kits
That’s all for this month’s Schlagle Homeschool Program. Happy Learning!