Lesson 20.8: Science Connection

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Butterflies Come Back: Monarchs Migrate

Monarch butterflies fly a long way to keep warm in winter. As cold weather arrives, the orange-and-black butterflies migrate. This means that they fly from a cold place to a warm place. In the fall, some monarch butterflies travel almost 2,000 miles to get to a warm place.

Each year, millions of butterflies fly from the northern U.S. to one place in Mexico. When they get to Mexico, the monarchs land on fir trees. They cover the trees and make them look bright orange.

People in Mexico have made the place safe for the monarchs. The trees where the butterflies rest may never be cut down. The butterflies rest in Mexico until early spring. Then they head home.

Scientists know why the monarchs cannot live in cold places. But scientists do not know why the monarchs migrate to the same place each year.

Word Wise

monarch butterfly:
A large orange-and-black butterfly: Ana saw a monarch butterfly at the park.

To reach a place: I get a big hug when I arrive at Grandma's house.

To move from one place to another: Many birds migrate to warm places when the weather gets cold.

A very large number: I think I see millions of stars in the sky.

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A syllable is a part of a word. Each syllable has just one sound.

The word “dog” has 1 syllable.

The word “helpful” has 2 syllables.
The red line breaks the word into syllables: help|ful

The word lullaby has 3 syllables.
The red lines break the word into syllables: lul|la|by

Copy the following words onto a sheet of paper. Say each word to yourself. Mark each word with red lines to show its syllables. Write the number of syllables that you count beside each word.

  1. monarch
  2. butterfly
  3. arrive
  4. migrate
  5. millions

Data Hunt

A group of people looks out for monarchs as they migrate. The group is called Monarch Watch. When the butterflies come to rest, members of the group put tiny tags on the butterflies' wings. Each tag has a number and a date.

A person who finds a tagged butterfly writes down the number and the date. With this information, Monarch Watch can tell how far the butterfly has come. It takes a monarch about 2 months to fly from some parts of the United States to Mexico.

Most monarchs fly about 20 miles in 1 day. Some fly up to 80 miles in 1 day. One butterfly was in Pennsylvania one day. The next day it was in Virginia. This was a distance of 265 miles! That's the longest distance a monarch has ever flown in 1 day.

Imagine that you have joined Monarch Watch. The chart below shows how far each of the butterflies flew in 1 day. Write the distances on a piece of paper. Order these numbers from greatest to least.

Butterfly Distance Flown
A 156 miles
B 162 miles
C 134 miles
D 174 miles
E 199 miles