Early Childhood Students Release Tagged Monarch Butterflies
Students are learning what it means to be “Citizen Scientists” in our Early Childhood STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) classroom. Citizen Scientists assist professional scientists by engaging, exploring, and observing the world around them. For our early childhood scholars, they are assisting as Citizen Scientists by helping monarch butterflies!
The population of monarch butterflies has declined in recent years due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and the lack of monarch butterflies’ food source: milkweed. When City Academy’s youngest scholars discovered that monarch butterflies are in trouble, they wanted to help. Last year, early childhood students learned about the life cycle of monarch butterflies and planted milkweed in our community garden. The milkweed has attracted many monarch butterflies and allowed scholars to move into the next phase of helping these butterflies: monarch tagging.
Monarch tagging allows monarch butterfly migration patterns to be traced and recorded. There is much unknown about monarch butterflies’ migration patterns in our region of the country, so students are helping professional scientists learn more about these patterns.
“As Citizen Scientists, our early childhood students are learning more about what it means to be a professional scientist,” says Ann Luciani, Early Childhood STEAM Teacher. “They have discovered that tagging monarch butterflies is something that scientists do. This helps us learn more about the migration habits of these butterflies. However, scientists cannot be everywhere at one time. And regardless of your age, you can help. Tagging monarch butterflies is a great way for our students to fall in love with science, effectively engage in their environment, and help others.”
Ann Luciani releasing a tagged monarch butterfly with early childhood students
Being Citizen Scientists teaches our youngest scholars to be responsible citizens in our world and is one way that we implement C.A.R.E.S. (cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy and self-control) in the classroom. By tagging the monarch butterflies in our North St. Louis city garden, professional and citizen scientists around the country will be able to trace and record the unknown migration patterns of these butterflies. We cannot wait to learn about the migration pattern of our monarch butterflies through other Citizen Scientists!