Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Saving the Monarch
Unit of 3 lessons

Unit Overview:

Focus Question: How is caring for the environment by protecting plants and animals related to civic responsibility? 

Unit Purpose:

Students learn the concept of environmental stewardship as an act of philanthropy. They learn about the Monarch Butterfly, the four stages of its life cycle, and its dependence on the milkweed plant as a source of energy.

Unit Objectives:

The Learner will:

  • understand the concept of stewardship of the Earth.
  • understand that making an area more beautiful is an act of philanthropy.
  • demonstrate philanthropy by working to raise money to purchase milkweed.
  • recognize a milkweed plant as the source of energy for the Monarch caterpillar.
  • develop an understanding of the four stages of the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly.
  • draw and label the four stages of the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly.
  • review the four stages of the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly.
  • listen and respond to a book about the life cycle of a butterfly.
  • demonstrate understanding of the life cycle of a butterfly by using pasta to represent the four stages.
  • understand that the Monarch Butterfly migrates to a warmer climate during the winter months.
  • understand that the Monarch caterpillar is dependent on the milkweed plant for it’s energy and that the Monarch Butterfly needs the nectar of a variety of flowers to store energy for it’s migration.
  • take home a letter to explain to the families the need for Monarch gardens.

Service Experience:

Although lessons in this unit contain service project examples, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.

The learners will raise money to purchase milkweed plants. They will also ask their parents to help them plant milkweed near their own home.

Unit Assessment:

Teacher observation and the use of Attachment Two, Lesson Two: The Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly.

School/Home Connection:

  • “Copy-and-Paste” Class/School Newsletter Information Insert:
    Our class is learning about being good stewards of the earth and philanthropists by helping take care of our environment. We will be studying the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly and planting milkweed plants. The milkweed is the primary source of energy for the butterfly.
  • Interactive Parent / Student Homework:
    See Attachment One, Lesson One: Helping the Monarch Butterfly

Notes for Teaching:

Remind learners to wash their hands after handling the milkweed plants as some  milkweed plants are considered to be toxic. 

State Curriculum and Philanthropy Theme Frameworks:

See individual lessons for benchmark detail.

Lessons Developed By:

Mary Petro
Albion Public Schools
Harrington Elementary
Albion, Michigan

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