This article introduces students to a citizen science project that tags and tracks monarch butterflies to see where they go to overwinter. It notes the importance of observation and data collection – over long periods of time and often over large areas – needed to monitor butterfly behaviour.
The article briefly explores the monarch butterfly’s life cycle, habits and names – including Māori, scientific and common names.
People are doing heaps for kauri, kiwi and kākāpō but nothing for endemic butterfly species, yet insects are crucial to the ecosystem.Jacqui Knight Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust
Check your school library for the article from the 2013 level 2 Connected journal ‘I Spy’, download it as a google slide presentation or order it from the Ministry of Education.
The teacher support material (TSM) can be downloaded from TKI (PDF file), click on 'Look inside this issue'). The material focuses on the science capabilities ‘Gather and interpret data’ and ‘Interpret representations’, and several aspects of the nature of science – located within the article text. It also outlines activities that support observation and action.
Participate in one of these citizen science projects below that have a focus on butterflies and moths.
- Ahi Pepe MothNet (a Participatory Science Platform initiative)
- The Pieris Project
- Big Backyard Butterfly Count
The Hub has an extensive range of resources featuring butterflies – see this article that introduces our butterfly resources. This includes links to 2 unit plans, one for lower primary and one for upper primary. These were based on the experiences of a year 4 class as they took action to protect butterflies in their school environment.
The topic butterflies and moths has links to our articles, activities, media and professional development resources. Remember, you can use the filters to narrow your search results.
Visit the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust (MBNZT) website.
The Connected journals can be ordered from the Down the back of the chair website. Access to these resources is restricted to Ministry-approved education providers. To find out if you are eligible for a login or if you have forgotten your login details contact their customer services team on 0800 660 662 or email email@example.com.
The Connected series is published annually by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.