De Minnesota a Michoacán: La migración de las Mariposas Monarca
Lesson 05 Making Symbolic Monarchs

Submitted by Jennifer Christiansen


Students will:

  • develop an understanding about Mexican communities by participating in the symbolic migration.


Language: Content Obligatory
Students will:

  • use present and past first and third person verbs to communicate ideas clearly in the form of a friendly letter.

Language: Content Compatible
Students will:

  • use verbs and phrases requiring the present subjunctive to make predictions and estimations. (Creo, pienso, tal vez, quizás . . .)

Learning Strategies / Social and Skills Development:
Students will:

  • Plan how to decorate the symbolic monarchs.
  • Use the writing process to write a friendly letter to accompany symbolic monarchs.
  • Relate knowledge about the symbolic migration to actual monarch migration.

Time Frame:

2 or 3 50-minute periods

Materials Needed:

  • Paper and art materials
  • the Symbolic Migration checklist - from the website (see References below)
  • instructions from the Journey North website

Description of Assessment (Performance Project):

Brainstorm messages that they would like to send to the people in the sanctuary region of Michoacán to thank them for caring for the monarchs.

During task:
Explain that the students will create paper monarchs which will be distributed to Mexican schoolchildren who will care for them over the winter. In the spring, the butterflies will be sent back with information about where they came from and who took care of them. Students will include message of friendship and gratitude for caring for the monarchs. They should keep thinking about how the message they write on the butterfly will help it to serve as an ambassador of goodwill and how it can represent the student and his or her appreciation to the people of Mexico.

Have students predict how far the monarchs will travel before reaching their destination in Mexico as well as how many symbolic monarchs they think will be sent from children in the United States and Canada this year. Contact the Journey North web site for other challenge questions and information related to the progress of the monarchs' journey.


Students' letters and symbolic monarchs

References and Resources:

Journey North: A Global Study of Wildlife Migration. Retrieved March 2, 2003, from

Symbolic Migration page from Journey North:

Registration for Symbolic Migration


NOTE: some attachments are in PDF form (get Acrobat Reader)