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Monarchs and More Curriculum

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About the Curriculum

The fifth edition of the Monarchs and More curriculum is designed to be an interdisciplinary, inquiry-based supplement to classroom science instruction. The curriculum is laid out as four projects that immerse students in the biology and ecology of monarchs and other pollinators. Through project-based lessons spanning the life cycle and ecology of monarch butterflies and other insects, students will engage in the scientific process. The activities are designed to help students ask questions, plan and conduct investigations, use appropriate tools and techniques to gather data, think critically and logically about evidence and explanations, and communicate scientific ideas. With its foundation in life science, the curriculum also incorporates concepts and skills in math, reading, writing, technology, art, and social studies through activity extensions. Monarch butterflies are a wonderful species to use in project-based classroom activities and are the primary focus in this curriculum. However, most of the monarch lessons can be easily adapted to fit other arthropods. 

The Monarchs and More curriculum takes an inquiry-based approach to exploring science and the scientific process. The scientific process involves making observations, asking questions, and testing hypotheses. Inquiry-based learning encourages students to explore this process of observing, questioning, and testing to make discoveries. While the value of inquiry-based learning is now widely accepted, it can still be a challenge to fully embrace an exploratory approach when there is pressure to focus on science content for standardized tests, and to meet state and national standards. With this in mind, our updated curriculum merges inquiry-based learning with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). NGSS are K-12 nationally recognized science standards focused on science practices, cross-cutting concepts, and core ideas. View the standards matrix to see which standards the lessons meet. This curriculum is designed so that anyone, no matter their comfort level or experience teaching science and inquiry can support their students in the process of science.

What’s Included

Cover page of the Monarchs and More 5th Edition curriculum for grades 3-5
Cover page of the Monarchs and More 5th Edition curriculum for grades 3-5

There are separate guides available for Grades K-2, Grades 3-5, and Middle School. For all grade levels, the curriculum is divided into four projects

  1. Monarch Life Cycle
  2. Monarch Migration
  3. Schoolyard Ecology
  4. Investigations with Insects

Each project includes NGSS standards alignment, key concepts and skills that are addressed in the project, a brief overview of the project, a list of materials, clear procedural steps, and additional resources such as links or books. Most also include copy-ready teacher and student pages. 

Activity extensions followed each project. These activities are rooted in life science but may also incorporate other subject areas such as art, math, literacy, or social studies. Activities can be done in conjunction with projects, or as stand-alone lessons. 

Background information on monarchs, their host plants and predators, and responsible conservation can be found at the beginning of this curriculum. The background information is intended to provide a sturdy foundation in monarch knowledge for teachers and educators. 

A glossary and appendices with tips for teaching outside, a collection of blacklines (drawings and diagrams that can be copied for students), and a list of monarch community science programs are included at the end.

How to Purchase

The Monarchs and More curriculum is available for purchase in digital and hard copies on the Monarch Joint Venture store. The Spanish translation of the 3rd-5th grade version can be purchased as a digital download or printed copy here. Proceeds from are used to support MJV's mission and vision for monarch conservation.