University of Minnesota

Workshops and Outreach

Workshop participants practicing OE spore sampling. (Photo: Wendy Caldwell)

We offer several professional development opportunities for teachers as well as outreach opportunities.

Our workshops range from 1-2 hours in districts to intensive two week courses for graduate credit. All of these are taught by teams of scientists and classroom teachers. Our outreach opportunities include classroom visits and speaking engagements.

Monarchs in the Classroom, based at the University of Minnesota, conducts on-site workshops for teachers, students, or other groups. These workshops range in length from 1.5 to 7 hours, and cost $100 per instructor hour plus travel. They cover successful curriculum lessons, schoolyard gardening, and basic monarch biology, but can be altered for a particular type of event. For more information or to set up an on-site workshop, contact us by emailing

In an on-going collaboration with several Minnesota teachers, we have developed a variety of materials to complement classroom study of monarchs. The centerpiece of these materials is a comprehensive written curriculum that leads teachers and students through an inquiry-based study of monarch butterflies and schoolyard ecology explorations. We have lessons for K-2, 3-6, and Middle School teachers. In each curriculum, there is a strong interdisciplinary approach; the curriculum incorporates concepts and skills in science, math, reading, writing, art and social studies. Lessons are congruent with K-8 concept and process standards as outlined in the National Academy of Science's National Science Education Standards (1996). Each guide has been indexed to the Content Standards from several states and the National Science Education Standards.

In conjunction with various organizations, the Monarch Lab promotes educators taking students out of the traditional classroom setting by utilizing ecology and inquiry based curricula or lessons to inspire a new generation of people who understand and care about the environment. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education the Monarch Lab offers the Citizen Science Research for Teachers (CSRT) course that focuses on using citizen science and field investigations to make challenging science interesting and rewarding to students and teachers. Partnering with the United States Forest Service International Programs (USFS IP) the Monarch Lab created the North American Monarch Institute (NAMI), a workshop that focuses on using the monarch butterfly to promote an inquiry based approach to science and foster support for conservation and research programs. The monarch lab also offers workshops around the Flight of the Butterflies IMAX film, which gives educators the opportunity to engage in scientific inquiry and conservation education. Finally, the Monarch Lab and University of Minnesota offer many opportunities for further professional development including on-site workshops, MLMP trainings, classroom visits, and the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program. 

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