Butterfly experts open zoo with songs, smiles and science

By Press Release

Did you know that it is time for monarch butterflies to migrate to Mexico and Southern California before winter?

Paonia Elementary's second graders do! They shared their knowledge and wonder of the monarch butterfly with their learning buddies before releasing the monarchs on their journey south.

The second graders created their own zoo to guide kindergartners on a tour of living butterflies and chyrsalids. The grand opening started with the song, Goin' Down to Mexico. Students then used maps to teach the seasonal migration routes the monarch butterflies travel within North America. They discussed their observations of their August and September chrysalids by interpreting data from their graphs. They were happy to teach about the miracle of metamorphosis and the monarch's life cycle.

Kindergartners smiled through "Milkweed Meadow" as they learned about the host plant that supports monarch caterpillars. They sipped "nectar" from juice boxes to learn about the proboscis, the straw-like tongue butterflies use to drink from flowers. Finally, students sat side-by-side to read fictional stories and non-fiction texts about the butterflies. The second graders left their learners with surprises from the "souvenir shop": a butterfly coloring page and a life-cycle on a string.

Bringing together music, art, reading, science, math, geography, and friendship through this experience was a delightful and meaningful way to learn about the wonders of nature!