Send a Monarch to Mexico!

Symbolic Monarch Butterfly Migration Update: November 10, 1998

Today's Update Includes:

Bienvenidas a Mexico Monarcas Simbolicas!

The Children's Museum of Mexico City (Museo - Papalote Del Niño) opened their doors on Thursday to accept the thousands of paper butterflies you sent their way for the winter. Special thanks to Martha Sanchez and her staff who are about to begin their big job. Each year we're reminded of the HUGE responsibility we put on their shoulders. Imagine if you had to care for the thousands and thousands and THOUSANDS of butterflies!

Similarly, the real monarchs are now arriving by the millions to a single place in Mexico, and the people who live there are faced with the responsibility of caring for them. Because these people are some of the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, this raises a question most of us don't think about while the monarchs are away:

Challenge Question #13
"Who do you think should pay the cost of protecting the monarchs' winter home?"

Discussion of Challenge Question #10
In the October 28 Symbolic Migration Update, Challenge Question # 10 asked you "How many symbolic monarch butterflies do you suppose there are?"

The final count is in, and the Grand Total of paper butterflies received was 40,347! Several classrooms came very close to estimating this number correctly by using our clue about the number of butterflies in a cubic foot and the measurements of the "sea of butterflies".

 The Grand Total is: 40,347! Journey North Staff from L. to R. Joel Halvorson, Elizabeth Donnelly, Beth Allen, Julie Brophy
Students from Mariposa Elementary School (What a great school name!) in California estimated 40,000 paper butterflies by drawing pictures of cubic feet to fit the measurements of the butterflies, and then figuring out the number of butterflies from there: "We think we have found the answer to your question 'How many butterflies in a space this big 120 inches by 120 inches by 12 inches?' You said that there were 400 butterflies in 1 cubic foot. Then we drew a picture of 1 cubic foot. Then we drew another square, and labeled it in inches 120 x 120 inches. We then changed the inches into feet which there was 10 feet in 120 inches.The box was 1 foot deep. Altogether there was 100 cubic feet in the square. Since there was 400 butterflies in one cubic foot you have to times 10 x 400 because which squares 40,000. The answer is 40,000 butterflies in the room."

Mr. Phillips's Third Grade Class from Kanawha School in Davisville, West Virginia also calculated 40,000 butterflies, but they figured it out by using the clues in a slightly different way: "We think that the number of paper butterflies is about 40,000. We first used some wooden blocks to help figure out how many feet of butterflies there are in the picture. Then we used calculators and counted by 400's to figure it out. It was a real challenge to figure it out."

Discussion of Challenge Question #12
In Challenge Question # 12 we asked you: "Exactly how many days, hours and minutes do you think it will take the butterflies to reach the front door of the Museo del Nino in Mexico City?"

Those of you who "tracked" the butterflies on the UPS WWW site know that the butterflies arrived in Mexico City on 11/5/98 at 1:34 p.m., just 2 days, 20 hours and 39 minutes after they left the Journey North office!

The Fifth grade students from St. Veronica School in Philadelphia, PA came very close with their estimate: "We think that the trip will take exactly 2 days, 17 hours and 55 minutes."

Nice Job!
Thanks to all classes who submitted their answers to the Challenge Questions. Many of you submitted very close estimates, and we're sorry we don't have space to list them all. You can see all of the answers by going to:

It's a long way from Minnesota to Mexico but, thanks to UPS, all your tens of thousands of butterflies received a free ride. We encourage you to please write and thank UPS directly. Without Mr. Jim Meyer, CEO of UPS Minnesota, this would not have been done! Letters should be addressed and sent to:

 Mr. Jim Meyer District Manager United Parcel Service 3312 Broadway Street N.E. Minneapolis, MN 55413

Symbolic Migration Passenger List
If you haven't already done so, please carefully check for your school's name on the Symbolic Migration Passenger List:

If you sent butterflies to Mexico and you do not find your name on the list, please don't be alarmed. Simply send an E-mail to Journey North and let us know: our feedback form

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question:

1. Address an e-mail message to: jn-challenge-monarch@learner.org
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question #13
3. In the body of the message, answer the question above.

See You in February
When Journey North begins in 1999, we'll introduce you to some of the children caring for your butterflies, and we'll visit their mountain homes in Michoacan.

The Next Symbolic Monarch Migration Update Will be Posted When Journey North Begins in February 1999!