The monarch butterfly and climate change: a great traveller in perilLesson Overview
Students submit a grant application showing their understanding of the link between climate change and the dangers it can pose to the energy levels of monarch butterflies during their long migration. This understanding can be expanded during the integration activity, when students are asked to imagine a Canadian ecological reserve for protecting the monarch from extreme temperature variations.
This learning and evaluation situation (LES) is organized as provided by the geography curriculum of the Québec Ministère de l’Éducation.
The plan is divided into four specific components.
1) Brainstorming (LES preparation)
2) Triad research (LES performance)
3) Presentation of migration plan and predictions (LES performance)
4) Creation of an ideal ecological reserve (LES integration)Grade Level
This Learning and Evaluation Situation is designed for students in Secondary 2 (grade 8). It could be adapted or abridged, however, for students in Secondary 1. Time Required
The total time required for preparation and performance is two 75-minute periods. The integration step can be longer or shorter at the teacher’s discretion and depending on student interest in the suggested activity. Curriculum Connection for Québec
Geography, Secondary 1 (middle grades), Québec.
Central Concept: a natural park
Competency 1, To understand the organization of territories:
Competency 1 components: decode the landscapes of a territory; understand the meaning of human actions in a territory; use mapping language
Competency 3, To construct a consciousness of global citizenship:
Competency 3 components: examine human actions in terms of the future; show the global nature of geographic phenomena
Links to the Return to the Wild Virtual Exhibitionwww.canadiangeographic.ca/vmc
Additional Resources, Materials, and Equipment Required
• Canadian Atlas Online: http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/atlas
Themes used in the Canadian Atlas Online:
Mixedwood Plains: Ecozones; Wildlife
• One computer per team, with Internet access
• Assessment Chart (Appendix 1)
• A photo of the monarch butterfly (Appendix 2)
• The Wildlife Migrations of North America map from the Canadian Geographic magazine
• Parks Canada Pointe Pelée National Park site - Monarch Migration (http://www.pc.gc.ca/fra/pn-np/on/pelee/natcul/natcul5.aspx
• The site of the Découverte program-Report on May 9, 2004, Les derniers papillons monarques
• Lead students to learn about the general characteristics and migratory route of the monarch.
• Lead students to identify the major characteristics and issues related to the monarch’s wintering territory.
• Lead students to consider the impact of climate change on migratory insects.
• Lead students to devise solutions that take account of their research findings. (Integration)Learning Outcomes
Following these various activities, students will be able to:
• Describe the characteristics of the monarch in relation to geography;
• Recreate the migratory path of the monarch on a map;
• Describe the characteristics of the monarch’s wintering territory;
• Explain the impact of climate change in the territories within the monarch’s migration route.Task Explanation
The task is to write a grant application for a research trip centred on the monarch butterfly and climate change. The aim is to see how issues facing the territory and human activity in the monarch’s wintering territory affect the entire migration process of this unique insect.
The role-play is as follows: You belong to a Canadian research team studying the monarch butterfly. You are concerned about a number of issues related to this insect, including: how does the climate of the territory in the monarch’s range affect its migration? To answer your questions, you decide to take a study trip during which you follow the path of the monarchs. The trip will be expensive, and you have to complete a grant application to obtain a research grant.
Working in teams of three, students must prepare a grant application using the recommended model. Their document must contain a description of the monarch’s characteristics, a map showing its migration route and an explanation of the characteristics of its wintering territory. Lastly, the grant application must end with a research hypothesis that answers the initial question.
In order to accomplish this task, students will first have to perform research on the various aspects involved. They will require several tools, including Internet access and a copy of the Wildlife Migrations of North America map from Canadian Geographic magazine. Consultation of the Canadian Atlas Online, specifically the Mixedwood Plains theme, and the Parks Canada site on Pointe Pelée, are mandatory during the research phase.
To guide students in their research, a note sheet is provided (see Student Activity Workbook). A file version can be sent to the students by e-mail to help them take notes directly on the computer. Students will have to make their own map showing the migratory route of the monarch based on the reference sources consulted. During their research, students will have to identify the main components of the wintering territory and human actions that affect its climate. The Découverte program website suggested above explains the causes of Michoacan climate change. For students encountering more difficulty in performing their research or making links between the characteristics of the territory and the monarch’s migration, the teacher may refer them to this program.
In the end, students should be able to submit a grant application showing that they understand the link between climate change and the danger it can pose to the energy level of monarchs during their long migration. This understanding can be expanded during the integration activity, when students will have to devise a Canadian ecological reserve for protecting the monarch from extreme temperature variations.The Lesson (or Learning and Evaluation Situation)
Learning and Evaluation situation Plan
LES phases Teacher Activity Student Activity
(20 minutes) Show the photograph of the monarch butterfly and ask students to identify it;
• Engage in brainstorming on existing knowledge about the butterfly in the chart;
• Ask students whether it is an endangered species, and what might be the causes. Enter this information on the board;
• Present the following role-play: You belong to a Canadian research team studying the monarch butterfly. You are concerned about a number of issues related to this insect, including: how does the climate of the territory in the monarch’s range affect its migration? To answer your questions, you decide to take a study trip during which you follow the path of the monarchs. The trip will be expensive, and you have to complete a grant application to obtain a research grant;
• Form groups of three students;
• Hand out the grant application workbook to each group. • Participate in general discussions;
• Identify the grant application workbook.
(90 minutes) • Explain the research work by reading each page of the grant application workbook;
• Prepare students for the research by assigning them to a computer station or arranging a work space;
• Give students a list of mandatory sites for starting their research;
• Give research ideas using the recommended Internet sites and the Canadian Geographic map;
• Supervise time spent on research work and workbook completion. • Become familiar with the grant application workbook;
• Divide up research work by consulting the available resources;
• Consult together to verify their information;
• Take notes while performing Internet research;
• Talk together to come up with a research hypothesis;
• Complete the grant application workbook.
• Lead a review with the entire group after completing the workbook;
• Compare the information acquired with past knowledge;
• Propose the following integration activity: imagine that you have to create a Canadian ecological reserve to protect the monarchs from extreme temperature variation. Identify the geographic characteristics of this location;
• Lead a general discussion on the imagined ecological reserve;
• Summarize the main items of knowledge acquired during this learning and evaluation situation, before ending the lesson.
• Participate in feedback discussion;
• Use the knowledge acquired to come up with a Canadian ecological reserve;
• Summarize their new knowledge during the closing discussion.
Other approaches or alternative methods
A longer integration phase could be used, with oral and visual presentations by each of the teams. For students having difficulty or where Internet access is not readily available, a series of documents could be provided as student reference material for the research phase.
Link to Canadian National Standards for Geography:
Essential Elements (grades 6 to 8)
1 - The World in Spatial Terms
2 - Places and Regions
3 - Physical Systems
5 - Environment and Society
6 - The Uses of Geography
Geographic Skills (grades 6 to 8)
1 - Asking geographic questions
2 - Acquiring geographic information
3 - Organizing geographic information
4 - Analyzing geographic information
5 - Answering geographic questions
Evaluation criteria Score
Students complete the grant application document by following the instructions. 5 4 3 2 1
Students use geography-related information sources. 5 4 3 2 1
Students acquire accurate and specific information. 5 4 3 2 1
Students can explain the role of climate change on monarch migration in their own words. 5 4 3 2 1
Students can reuse the information acquired to develop realistic solutions that takes account of the various parameters studied. 5 4 3 2 1
Characteristics of the monarch
Instructions: Complete a summary description of the monarch butterfly using the information acquired during your research. Use full sentences!
Other relevant information
Instructions: Create a map of the territory covered by the monarch’s migration. Trace the route of the monarchs in red.
Instructions: Your theoretical research is now complete. To conclude your grant application, draft a hypothesis about what you expect to find in the field. In about 150 words, answer your key question: How does the climate of the territory in the monarch’s range affect its migration?
Instructions: Use this sheet to take notes on your Internet research.