Journey North Monarch Project
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 At the beginning of each school year, a special package containing tiny caterpillars arrived from the University of Kansas.  Students also collected caterpillars from local milkweed plants in their yards and along roadways. Kids become scientists in this project, studying caterpillars, observing them, and measuring various changes. When metamorphosis was complete, students released the adult Monarchs in our school yard to send them on their journey to Mexico - the amazing story of migration. This page shows how students learned and played with the caterpillars and the adult Monarchs. Part Two of this project is the Symbolic Migration, explained below.  

Many Other Monarch Links at Journey North

Download our class Monarch Information Sheet

Female & Male (dots)

 Kids talk about Monarchs after releasing them in front of the school.

They are slightly more than 1 centimeter long.

These guys are eating machines - vanishing milkweed.

Which direction are they going?


A volunteer tests his sensitivity to caterpillar feet.

What is this? How is it part of the project?








The Monarch rearing cage and milkweed plant and pods

 Symbolic Monarch Migration

As students raised Monarchs in the classroom, they also participated in the annual Symbolic Monarch Butterfly Migration. We shared this project with a few thousand students across the United States and Canada.  Thousands of paper butterflies migrate to Mexico for the winter. Paper butterflies from classrooms arrive in Mexico about the same time as the real migrating Monarchs.

Mexican students watch over the paper butterflies during the winter months. In March, the paper butterflies are sent back to the US and Canada just as the real Monarchs begin returning from the mountains near Angangueo in Mexico. Students know that the Monarchs that go to Mexico are not the same ones that return. So when we receive our returning group of butterflies, we will find that they are not the ones we sent. They will be butterflies made by other students, perhaps with messages written in Spanish for us to translate!

 Options for participation include sending a Monarch booklet in Spanish as well as all of the individual paper butterflies.
Details are here: 


Preservice Teachers  - Symbolic Monarch Project




Here is an example student symbolic Monarch.

A rare form of Monarch...

We tagged each Monarch like this on the back.

We tagged the paper butterflies just like scientists tag real butterflies.

Check out the Journey North Projects home page. Learn more about animal migrations!!

Click here to learn about a Monarch rain water experiment.

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