University of Minnesota

About Us

Monarchs in the Classroom began in 1991 when Karen Oberhauser brought 10 monarch larvae into her daughter Amy's kindergarten classroom. Since then, it has grown to include a wide variety of materials and professional development opportunities for teachers throughout the US. Two groups of behind the scenes people work together in a unique partnership to make this program successful: classroom teachers and scientists committed to sharing their expertise with the K-12 community. All of our programs reflect this partnership, combining real science with techniques that work for teachers and students, and promoting classroom practices in which students learn science in ways that reflect the inquiry methods used by scientists to understand the natural world.

Why monarchs? Monarchs are familiar, well-loved insects that provide students and teachers with a comfortable, non-threatening experience with living organisms. Their easily-observed life cycle brings diverse and exciting science concepts to life, and their large size makes it easy for students to handle all life stages. Working with living organisms in the classroom engages students and allows them to practice observation, measuring, hypothesis-making and evaluating skills. Using monarchs is especially appealing because it captures the interest and attention of all students, not just those with an "aptitude for science."

The Monarch Lab website was developed by scientists and educators at the University of Minnesota to augment the work of the Monarchs in the Classroom program. This website provides a solid background on the ecology, behavior, and evolution of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). Furthermore, this website offers access to peer-reviewed journal publications from Monarch Lab scientists as well as links addressing research, education, and outreach relating to monarch butterflies. Finally, a main goal of this site is to report the results of recent scientific discoveries addressing monarch biology, population trends, and citizen science efforts

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