Saving the Monarchs

Unless someone like you, cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not!

~The Lorax

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Did you know that many years ago the migration of the monarch butterfly went right through our own schoolyard? In the beginning of summer the beautiful butterflies would swoop over the top of Mount Washington Elementary School and then make their way over the Sierras on their journey North.

Room 6 has been very busy wondering what happened.  Where are they? Are they using a different route?  Are they still migrating?  What has changed? A lot of big questions for first graders.

What a great subject to explore! Project based learning is a dynamic learning approach that  connects different subject areas with real-life applications.  Bringing the monarch butterfly back in the process?  All the better.

The kids have conducted research and come up with an hypothesis. There is no milkweed on our yard.  Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed and drink the nectar from milkweed flowers.

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There is nothing  first graders can’t do when they put their minds to it.  While the class was closing their eyes, visualizing the return of the monarch, incredibly, a real life monarch came fluttering by.  Coincidence?  The class didn’t think so.

Milkweed plants cost money and the children needed to find a way to raise funds fast.  An opportunity presented itself during the annual Wolf Pack Run fundraiser. The class decided to create a lemonade stand.  Considering the customers at the event it morphed into a coffee and lemonade stand.  The children also decided on quiche, eggs, fruit, and other baked goods.  Out came the cash register and room 6 made brisk business.

$ 304.65 later it was time to plant. The garden committee and the kids planted a butterfly garden right in front of the school.  First the kids had to weed the area and clean up. Digging holes turned out to be much harder than anticipated, but with the help of our Mount Washington garden committee the job got done. The kids even created and placed “Butterfly Crossing Signs” throughout the freshly planted yard.

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With the milkweed in place it is now time to wait and see.  Will the monarch return? Will the hypothesis turn out correct?  As we conduct research and collect data, room 6 is getting ready for another round in the scientific process.  Stay tuned for updates!

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