Teaching Suggestions

Too Cold to Fly?
The Effects of Temperature on Fall Monarch Migration

Back to Slideshow Overview


Monarch butterflies are in a race against time during fall migration. They must leave the north before they're trapped by the cold. Monarchs are cold-blooded so, in order to fly, their flight muscles must be warm enough. Using the facts and photos in this slideshow, explore this essential question:

Essential Question
How do temperatures affect fall monarch migration?

Set the Stage for Learning

1. Preview the slideshow cover. Ask questions to assess prior knowledge:

  • How do you think temperatures affect fall monarch migration?
  • When is it too cold for monarchs to fly?
  • What can monarchs do to warm up their flight muscles?
Too Cold to Fly? Fall Temperatures
2. Preview images in the Photo Gallery. On large chart paper, post the essential question: How do temperatures affect fall monarch migration? Have students make pre-reading predictions based on details they see in the photos.
Photo gallery

3. Preview slideshow using the Headings Handout and Word Cards. Have students predict how the words may be related to the slideshow title, paragraph headings, and essential question: How do temperatures affect fall monarch migration?


Viewing the Slideshow

As a class, read through the pages of the slideshow together. Stop occasionally to spotlight key words and ideas or ask questions. Encourage students to share their own questions sparked by the information and images.

Revisit for Understanding

1. Predict fall migration patterns. Explore the temperature map to see how quickly temperatures drop as the fall season progresses.

  • When will temperatures be too cold for flight in your hometown?
  • How can temperatures help us predict when and where monarchs migrate in the fall?

2. Analyze temperature maps.
Help students connect fall temperature data with monarch migration in your hometown with this journal page.

3. Track fall migration.
As monarchs migrate south, use air temperature data to help you predict when and where the butterflies will travel.

temperature map

Temperature Map


Journal Page

Explore Related Resources
A monarch can raise its body temperature by basking and shivering.
Basking Behavior

Shivering Behavior

Basking Shivering

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