Monarch Butterflies

This month has been so fun! This week, we learned about so many interesting butterflies. One of our favorite days was learning about the monarch butterfly.

Monarch butterflies migrate to places with warmer weather. I love teaching my students big words like: migration. For our community challenge from Mother Goose Time, we pretended to be monarch butterflies and travel, or migrate, around to different areas in the preschool room. I drew the different areas around the room on a scrap piece of paper. I am not the best artist. Next time, I will take a picture and print it out. But, it worked! The students picked a card at random and migrated together to that area. At the end of the activity we talked about what the challenges were about migrating together. There was a lot of them and they all agreed that in order for them to make it from one place to the next safely, they had to move slowly and gracefully (like a butterfly). At the beginning, they were all running to the area to be the first one there and students were getting pushed and shoved. By the end of the activity, students were being more patient and kind as they traveled together.

We used paper monarch butterflies, as well as other colorful butterflies, to act out math story problems. I LOVE math story problems. It is so fun to play with the different pieces to the story. And it doesn’t feel like you’re doing math because you are playing. For this week’s story problems, I had pieces of string for caterpillars, paper leaves, paper flowers, and pictures of butterflies. I usually let the students play however they want with the materials before we begin a lesson. I have found that they get less distracted when they have already been given a minute or two to play freely. We usually start off with a simple counting problem like “5 caterpillars are sitting on a leaf.” The students work together to count out 5 caterpillars and put them on a leaf. We practice using 1-1 correspondence to count the caterpillars. Then, we move to a simple addition problem. Sometimes I add on to the previous problem and sometimes I make up a new problem. “2 more caterpillars join them. How many caterpillars are on the leaf?” The students act out the story and count how many are on the leaf now. Next, we move do a subtraction problem. The last problem is a multiplication problem. My older students love the multiplication word problems. It’s more challenging for them and keeps their interest. Word problems are one of my favorite activities to do for math.

Monarch butterflies like flowers. For literacy, we are learning the letters x, k, and m. I used bow tie pasta to represent a butterfly. I wrote either a k, m, or x on the pasta. I hid the pasta in paper leaves in a bin. The students looked through the bin to find butterflies. Once they found a butterfly, they flew it over to the matching flower. Each flower had a letter on it. As we played this game, the students were practicing letter recognition, letter sounds, and taking turns.

The art activity was dancing butterflies that were attached together with tape, a popsicle stick, and string. The students decorated their butterflies with dot paint. This week, we have talked a lot about symmetry. I was very pleased to see that my students had used symmetry when decorating these butterflies. “Symmetry” is another big word that my students have learned so far during this unit. When we finished painting the butterflies, we danced and twirled around.

We will do a few more days of butterflies next week and then we will move on to bees.

** I receive curriculum from Mother Goose Time for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences using the curriculum. This is my 3rd year using Mother Goose Time, and I am pleased to promote quality educational learning experiences through play with Mother Goose Time!

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