Grade 3 Students Participate in Symbolic Monarch Butterfly Migration

This fall, Grade 3 students have been participating in a cross-curricular project – combining art, math, science, and Spanish – called the "Journey North", which uses a symbolic migration of monarch butterflies to teach authentic lessons about conservation and international cooperation.
After learning about the butterfly life cycle, the children sent sketches they made of monarch butterflies – along with a personal letter written in Spanish about themselves, Old Trail, and Ohio – to students in a school near the butterfly sanctuaries in Michoacan, Mexico, to correspond with the real monarch migration to the south.

The paper monarchs will arrive in Mexico sometime during the winter and the students who receive our butterflies will protect them during the cold winter months. In the springtime, those same students in Mexico will send the paper monarchs back to Old Trail – thus completing the migration back north.

On Nov. 1, our students will also make corn tortilla with Mrs. Sapienza to celebrate the Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead, and the arrival of the monarchs in Mexico, which traditionally were believed to carry the souls of deceased family members. To conclude the lesson in the spring, students will design a butterfly garden as part of a math project.

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Old Trail School is an independent day school (toddler through grade eight) located in the heart of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.