Monarch Butterfly in Spanish Lesson Bundle for Elementary
The Monarch butterfly is one of the most beautiful and well-known butterfly species in the world. It’s noted for its amazing ability to perform long migrations and for its fascinating life cycle. Now more than ever, it’s important to promote its conservation among younger generations and assure the future of the species and its impact on the environment.
Make your classes extra fun and engage your students with this Monarch butterfly in Spanish lesson bundle full of vocabulary, amusing content and activities for Elementary students. Join me as I unravel all there is to know about the Monarch butterfly in Spanish.
Basic Facts About the Monarch Butterfly in Spanish
The Monarch butterfly is a small insect, easily recognizable due to the bright orange color of the wings, with black veins and edges decorated by white specks.
The species scientific name Danaus Plexxipus stands for “sleepy transformation” in Greek. This name evokes the Monarch butterfly’s ability to hibernate and metamorphize.
Monarch butterflies are known for the incredible mass migration that each winter brings millions of individuals of the same species together. It’s the only butterfly in the world that makes such a spectacular journey. It travels between 1,200 to 2,800 miles or more from the U.S. and Canada to the forests of Central Mexico.
|Nombre Común (Common name)||Mariposa Monarca (Monarch Butterfly)|
|Nombre Científico (Scientific name)||Danaus Plexxipus|
|Tipo (Type)||Invertebrado (invertebrate)|
|Dieta (Diet)||Herbívora (herbivore)|
|Promedio de vida (Average lifespan)||seis a ocho meses (six to eight months)|
|Tamaño (Size)||3,7 a 4,1 pulgadas (inches)|
|Peso (Weight)||0.0095 a 0.0026 onzas (ounces)|
Objective of the Lesson
The Monarch butterfly exhibits a highly evolved migration pattern in comparison to any known insect. This migration is threatened by climate change, habitat loss, and use of toxic pesticides.
Teaching your students about the Monarch butterfly in Spanish allows them to learn more about this magnificent animal, while introducing them to new vocabulary in the fields of science and biology. Students also get the chance to learn more about animal migration, metamorphosis, threats, and conservation through dynamic, hands-on activities.
Monarch Butterfly in Spanish Vocabulary
Let’s begin covering the essential Monarch butterfly in Spanish vocabulary you can use throughout the lesson. You can use flashcards to reinforce memory, pronunciation, and spelling.
|Life cycle||el ciclo de vida|
|Larva / Grub||la larva|
|Chrysalis||la pupa / la crisálida|
Habitat and Distribution
The Monarch butterfly has a wide distribution, you can find it in Africa, North and South America, islands of Oceanía, and Western Europe. The majority of its distribution is concentrated in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. However, it’s still possible to find mariposas Monarca in Hawaii, New Zealand, New Caledonia, New Guinea, Ceylon, India, Bermuda, Solomon Islands, Australia, Azores, and the Canary Islands.
Within the U.S., it resides mostly in the Rocky Mountains that make the migration of the forests of Mexico. Colonies on the Pacific coast reside also in the same location, but move to southern California during winter. The Monarch butterfly doesn’t tolerate cold and prefers a wide variety of tropical and temperate climates.
The Monarch butterfly needs a plant known as algodoncillo for thriving. They lay their eggs in the algodoncillo and it’s the only plant the caterpillars eat at birth. The plant offers an effective form of defense from predators through toxins that make it taste toxic. Adult butterflies also feed on nectar of other flowers.
The Monarch butterfly’s anatomía (anatomy) is quite similar to other butterfly species, making the size and color of the wings a trait that makes it stand out from others. Let’s start with la cabeza (head), where the ojo compuesto (compound eye) stands out for being quite large. La cabeza has large antennas, labial palps, and a trompa (snout) that together help the butterfly locate its prey and absorb nectar from flowers.
The head is joined to the thorax by the thin body of the butterfly and is divided into three parts. All three parts of the butterfly have a pair of legs of different sizes. The middle of the thorax has two sets of membranous wings, the first being larger than the second. Both sets are formed by fifteen veins.
The wings of the Monarca stand out for the elaborate patterns made up of tiny scales that either contain pigments or can also produce colors by diffraction and refraction of light, giving the wings a striking appearance.
The abdomen of the butterfly contains the feeding canal and its reproductive system, the base of the mariposa Monarca’s ciclo de vida.
The life cycle and reproduction of the Monarch starts when male and female butterflies mate. The female lays her eggs on the reverse of the algodoncillo plants. It can lay up to 400 eggs at a time and she’s finished, she dies.
The huevos (eggs) take four to eight days to hatch into orugas or larvas (caterpillars). Once they’re born they eat the shell of their egg and start feeding on the algodoncillo. After two weeks of a constant feeding frenzy, the oruga starts building a crisálida or pupa (cocoon).
The crisálida phase lasts between eight and fifteen days. While the oruga is inside the pupa, it goes through an astonishing transformation that turns it into a majestic Monarca butterfly. In the last phase, the crisálida looks transparent and it’s possible to see the butterfly perfectly.
The Monarca leaves the crisálida once she’s ready and if ready or necessary she begins her migration. Those butterflies that choose not to migrate live between three to six weeks, a short period of life in comparison to the ones who decide to move to warmer grounds. Those who migrate have a lifespan of eight to nine months and repeat the cycle. This life-spanning generation of Monarchs is called the Mathusalen generation due to its longevity.
In the East, the Monarcas that are born in late summer and early fall, make the annual migration south to avoid the cold winter. The days begin to get short and cooler, so their instinct tells them it’s time to move on to warmer lands. They abandon the northern U.S. and Canada and move down to the mountains of Central Mexico, a distance of about 3,000 miles.
Once they arrive in their new home, they huddle together on trees to wait out the winter. Once the days start to become long once again, the butterflies begin to move back north, laying eggs along the route. From there, a new generation of Monarcas continues farther North and also lays eggs. This process repeats itself for four or five generations, before the Monarcas can make it back to Canada.
On the West, on the other hand, Monarcas head to the coast of California for winter, stopping along the coast to wait out the cold. When spring arrives, they disperse across California and other western states.
Monarchs are able to stand this course because they rely on sunlight and have a magnetic compass that helps them navigate cloudy days. They possess a unique gene for highly efficient muscles that enables them to fly for long-distances.
Threats and Conservation
Conservation groups are pushing law initiatives that promote including the mariposa Monarca in the endangered species act lists. The species is in decline and has many threats compromising its future.
The disappearance of algodoncillo poses a major threat for the population. The use of toxic herbicides and systematic removal of algodoncillo from fields has reduced the quantities available for the Monarch butterflies considerably.
Climate change is another major concern for different reasons. Monarcas are sensitive to temperature and weather changes, so any drastic change can affect their reproductive cycle and migration process. Extreme weather events are overwintering and over warming their habitats, compromising their survival directly.
The sights of the migration are impressive and have allowed the U.S. and Mexico to establish sanctuaries for the Monarcas to huddle and mate at peace.
The santuario de la Mariposa Monarca in the forests of Michoacán, México is a model for conservation and environmental awareness of the importance of the species. Along with similar places, it’s a safe-haven and protected area that draws thousands of tourists each year to witness such a natural spectacle, hopefully more people will become aware of the importance and uniqueness mariposas Monarcas represent.
Now we’ve covered all there is to know about the mariposa Monarca, it’s time to take our new knowledge for a spin with engaging activities to share with your Elementary students.
El Viaje de la Mariposa Monarca Coloring Book
Use our illustrated coloring book as a way to narrate the course of the migration and life cycle of the Monarca butterfly in Spanish in a simplified way. The information is short enough to not overwhelm your students but gives the details they need to know to understand the relationship between the ciclo de vida and migration. The book has the seasons when the monarchs move and is perfect for coloring, it has a reading comprehension activity at the end.
Photographs and Video
The best resource available to communicate all about the Monarch butterfly in Spanish to your student are photos. They are ideal for asking questions about the anatomy and life cycle and checking how much your students picked up from the theory part of the lesson. You can find free stock images for download on pixabay or flickr.
Print out our ciclo de la mariposa template for your students to color and identify the stages of metamorphosis of the butterfly in Spanish. The goal of the activity is for students to match the word or phrase to the illustration that represents it. This activity is great for students to remember the stages of reproduction and the different physical changes the butterfly goes through.
El ciclo de la mariposa Monarca
|Huevos||Oruga||Pupa o Crisálida||Mariposa|
|draw the cocoon hanging from a branch||draw a caterpillar feeding of a leaf||draw eggs||draw the fully grown butterfly|
Use a free puzzle available online where your students will be able to identify the different stages of the Monarch butterfly or become familiarized with the anatomy. These puzzles are time challenging and require the students to concentrate according to the level of difficulty. The puzzles are in Spanish, so vocabulary can be reinforced during the challenge.
Mariposas Board Game
Mariposas is an interactive board game for advanced elementary students. The board game is played through seasons and allows the players to experience the life and migration cycle of the Monarch butterfly in Spanish. The game is challenging and guaranteed to communicate the important content to your students in an endearing way. A Spanish version is available for purchase on Amazon.
Sopa de Letras
Have your students locate Monarch butterfly in Spanish words in a sopa de letras. The word soup is great for practicing grammar and spelling in a fun and challenging way. You can set a time limit among the class and can add prizes to motivate the students. Download our free sopa de letras template here.
Talk About Mariposas Monarca in Spanish
I trust this lesson and activities will be of use to you and your elementary students in covering this fascinating and important topic. It’s important to get the students familiarized with all types of Spanish vocabulary, including science and environmental challenges. After all, they are the future and should be aware of the balance of nature. Knowing more vocabulary means they are getting constant exposure to the language and it can ultimately improve their comprehension and fluency.
Now, if you feel like improving your student’s Spanish skills with a 1-on-1 Spanish lesson with a native speaker, you can sign up for a free trial class with certified, kid-friendly Spanish teachers from Guatemala. They’ll make sure your child learns all the necessary vocabulary and starts speaking Spanish after just one class.
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