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Educator Resources

Here are some easy resources to help everyone learn more about monarch butterflies with a special Southwest flavor!

Activities

  • Monarch flight is as easy as a paper airplane. Print this monarch paper airplane and follow the directions for assembly. Then modify the rudder on the plane by bending it in different directions so children can see how the flight varies. Monarchs also use different types of flight during their lifetime. For example, a slow easy glide will help a monarch peruse a flower bed for nectar or a rapid escape flight will help it fly up and away from a predator. Monarchs use their wings in different ways to achieve these flight patterns.
    Monarch plane template Monarch plane assembly directions by Kevin Bailey
  • Monarch on a stick is great for younger children, too. Print the monarch butterfly on orange paper or white and let children color the butterflies. Cut the monarch and then use glue dots to attach to a popsicle stick. Print the tag and glue dot the tag in the discal cell of the lower wing. MonarchCondition.pdf shows where the discal cell is located. That's where the tag goes.
  • If you have a milkweed patch, why not a monarch treasure hunt? Bas Relief, LLC is committed to supporting classrooms, organizations and individuals exploring the natural world. This link contains PDF files that may be useful for anyone using Bas Relief, LLC products or using monarch butterflies in the classroom or at home. Be sure to explore this link for monarch life-cycle handouts and for Desert monarch and milkweed watchers at the bottom of the page! http://basrelief.org/Pages/notes.htm
  • Take the Southwest Monarch Challenge! How much do you know about monarch butterflies tagged in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, California deserts and western Utah? Southwest Monarch Study Trivia Challenge

    Southwest Monarch Study Trivia Challenge Answers

Gardening for Monarchs & Pollinators

    Sinagua High School—Flagstaff, Arizona

  • What to plant? See our handy website Waystation guide! Learn all the ingredients to make a perfect garden banquet to draw monarchs and pollinators to your feast. Check out the regional planting guides to help you find the best plants for where you live in the Southwest. Want to start native Southwest milkweeds from seed? Follow our easy directions.
  • Seed balls are an easy way to spread much needed monarch and pollinator nectar and host plants. While we all know milkweed is important for monarchs during the breeding season, rich nectar is key to supporting the monarch migration. You can add native sunflowers and other native seeds to benefit many species. There are many ways to make seedballs; here is one recipe You can also find premade mixes online and just add your own seeds. The key is to use only 3 - 5 seeds per marble size ball. Let the balls dry for 24 to 48 hours then have fun tossing them around! Wait for the rainy season and enjoy. Need seed ideas? See our regional planting guides and plants for restoration for Arizona. (We hope to expand Restoration seed recommendations to other nearby Southwest states soon.)
  • Plan a butterfly garden for your school! Southwest Monarch Study will offer a new school Monarch Waystation Grant program soon. If you are interested, contact us at info@swmonarchs.org

Resources:

  • Southwest Monarch Study website: https://www.swmonarchs.org provides overviews of recent research in the Southwest United States including monitoring and tagging long term data. Access to videos, recent findings and a link to Status of Danaus plexippus in Arizona are included.
  • Learn about monarchs in the West! Journey North offers tracking of the monarch migration. During the Spring and Fall migrations, Gail Morris, Southwest Monarch Study Coordinator & Monarch Watch Conservation Specialist writes a weekly column in Western Monarch News. There is also a special Educators link to provide classroom links to monarch movement locally and around the country. https://journeynorth.org/monarchs
  • See Monarch Butterfly Fund's Monarch Fun Facts
  • Milkweed, Monarchs and More, A Field Guide to the Invertebrate Community in the Milkweed Patch by Ba Rea, Karen Oberhauser, Michael A. Quinn. This is a wonderful resource to help identify the many critters both children and adults may find on milkweed. Great opportunity to learn if they are helpful or a problem to monarchs as well.
  • Monarchs and More—An Inquiry and Arthropod Based Curriculum Grades 3 - 6, Monarchs in the Classroom. A rich resource of monarch and more activities that are geared for children grade 3 to 6.
  • Monarchs and More—An Inquiry and Arthropod Based Curriculum Middle School Monarchs in the Classroom.
  • Pollinator Partnership Pollination-Fast-Facts-Educators-Students

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