In all the world, no butterflies migrate like the monarchs of North America. They travel up to three-thousand miles twice a year: south in the fall and north in the spring. To avoid the long, cold northern winters, monarchs west of the Rocky Mountains winter along the California coast. Those east of the Rockies fly south to the mountain forests of Mexico. Unlike migrating birds and whales, however, individual monarchs only make the round-trip once. It is their great-grandchildren that return south the following fall.
Number one reason to visit Animal Facts is the photos which you are free to use in a school report or on a personal web page. Reasons two through seven are the interactive jigsaw puzzles and printable coloring pages at the bottom of the page. Between the photos and the games is a one-page introduction to the monarch butterfly life cycle, appropriate for elementary students.
"Despite their small size, butterflies and moths are some of the world's most wondrous animals. Their beauty, seemingly miraculous metamorphosis, and apparently carefree flight all spark our imaginations." Entomologist Dr. Paul Opler answers children's questions about butterflies ("How do butterflies go to the bathroom?") and tells the butterfly life cycle story through click-and-print coloring pages. Be sure to visit the photo gallery.
Enchanted Learning is my monarch butterfly pick of the day for primary grades. With large type, short paragraphs and appropriate illustrations, this is an excellent place to start a school report. Scroll down for printable activities (coloring, crafts, and diagrams to label.) Keep going for links to other butterfly and moth pages.
The Journey North project tracks monarch migration by collecting reports of the first sightings of adult monarch butterflies and monarch eggs found on milkweed plants. Each week a migration map will be produced, showing a "live" snapshot of the migration in progress. Register now to become a "news reporter" and receive daily updates, challenge questions and online lesson plans. Registration is free, and only registered participants can report their sightings. Printed materials are available for a nominal fee.
Monarch Watch is a cooperative study of the monarch's fall migration promoting science education in primary and secondary schools. Last fall more than 100,000 students and adults tagged and studied 94,000 monarchs.. In addition to information about joining the Watch, you'll find monarch biology, raising monarchs and butterfly gardening. For the classroom teacher, there are curriculum and projects ideas.