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Activities and Lesson Plans

Mysterious Monarchs
Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, October 2009

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Suggested Topics: migration, food webs, adaptations, conservation

Related 4th Grade TEKS:

Language Arts:
4.1 A,B,C: Listening, Speaking, Purposes : Listens Actively and Purposefully in a Variety of Settings
4.5 C: Listening, Speaking, Audiences: Speaks Clearly and Appropriately to Different Audiences for Different Purposes and Occasions
4.9 E: Reading, Vocabulary Development: Acquires Extensive Vocabulary through Reading and Systematic Word Study
4.12 D: Reading: Recognizing genre
4.15 A, D: Writing, Purposes : Writes for Variety of Audiences and Purposes in Various Forms
4.16 A: Writing: Compose original text
4.18 A, B, C, D: Writing, Grammar, Usage : Applies Grammar and Usage to Communicate Clearly and Effectively in Writing
Social studies:
4.6 A, B: Geography: Use geographic tools such as maps
4.7 A, B, C: Geography: Regions: human activity, landforms, climate, vegetation from physical characteristics
4.9 A, B, C: Geography : Humans Adapt to and Modify their Environment
4.24 A, B: Social Studies Skills : Problem Solving and Decision Making
4.1 A: Scientific Processes : Conducts Field and Laboratory Investigations
4.3 C, D: Scientific Processes : Uses Critical Thinking and Scientific Problem Solving to Make Informed Decisions
4.4 A, B: Scientific Processes : Use of Tools and Methods to Conduct Science Inquiry
4.5 A, B: Science Concepts : Parts Removed from Complex Systems
4.8 A, B: Science Concepts : Adaptations Increase Survival
4.8 A, B, C: Geometry and spatial reasoning: Identify and describe geometric figures
4.9 A, B, C: Geometric and spatial reasoning: Congruence and symmetry
4.11 A, B: Measurement: Estimate and measure length and area
4.14 A, B, C, D: Underlying processes and mathematical tools: everyday usage and problem solving

Discussion Questions


Here are some programs where citizens can get involved in collecting important data on these unique butterflies:

Monarch Watch

Monarch Watch is a collaborative network of students, teachers, volunteers, and researchers dedicated to the study of the monarch butterfly. It is an educational outreach program at the University of Kansas. For information about the University of Kansas Monarch Watch Tagging Program and how you can get involved, contact via phone (1-888-TAGGING), web site ( or E-mail ( The Monarch Watch Tagging Kit (sent just prior to the fall migration each year) contains tags, a PreMigration Newsletter, a datasheet and complete instructions.

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project

There is still much to learn about monarch butterflies. The monarchs that pass through our state in the spring after overwintering in Mexico seek various species of milkweed on which to lay their eggs. But we know very little about the abundance and distribution of milkweed and monarch eggs and larvae in Texas. Where are monarchs breeding in Texas? Where do they lay their eggs? How does the abundance of milkweed in Texas impact monarch numbers? Many of these questions are being researched through the University of Minnesota's Monarch Larva Monitoring Project. For information on this important project and how you can get involved, contact via phone (1-612-624-8706), web site ( or E-mail: Karen Oberhauser, Director: or Dina Kountoupes, Program Assistant:

Journey North

Journey North engages students in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. This web site is a free, Internet-based program that tracks the journeys of monarch butterflies and other migratory species each season. Students share their own field observations with classrooms across the hemisphere. In addition, students are linked with scientists who provide their expertise directly to the classroom. Several migrations are tracked by satellite telemetry, providing live coverage of individual animals as they migrate. Through this site you will not only be able to track monarch migration but also report sightings of your own. For more information on this program, contact their web site (

Project WILD

Interesting Links for Further Research

Journey North:
Science Museum of Minnesota:

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