Unit 3 Section 1 Lesson 1: Extreme Makeover

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1 Focus Areas: Animal Life Styles; Science, Math, Language Arts Focus Skills: researching a topic using multiple sources, using mathematical functions, comparing and contrasting, following verbal directions Objectives To understand the concept of life cycles To recognize that among living organisms there are similarities and differences in regard to life stages and life spans To increase ability in the use of mathematical data to create reasonable explanations Essential Questions What is a living organism s life span? What are the life stages of a living organism? How do life stages and life spans differ among living organisms? Essential Understandings Animals have life cycles that begin with birth and end with death. Animals can survive only in those environments that provide for their basic needs. The life spans of living things differ in length. Living things develop and change in a series of stages. The life stages differ in length from species to species. Mathematical computation is often needed in scientific inquiry. Background All living things develop in a series of stages, which begin with birth and end at death. These stages involve both growth and change. In the insect world, these stages, called metamorphosis, involve dramatic changes

2 in structure and appearance. Some insects, like dragonflies, go through three stages, called incomplete metamorphosis. Others, like butterflies, experience four stages, called complete metamorphosis. The four stages of a monarch butterfly s development are egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Eggs laid in the spring and summer by multiple generations of adult monarchs hatch in about 4 days and a caterpillar, the larval stage, emerges. For approximately two weeks, this tiny insect larva feeds on its surrounding environment, beginning with its own shell and continuing through multiple meals of the milkweed plant on which the egg was laid. The larva s size increases from 1/16 of an inch to 2 inches, and it s mass by approximately 4,500 times in 9 to 14 days. As the caterpillar grows, it molts 5 times. Each molt results in a larger instar or growth stage of the caterpillar. The last molting ushers in the pupa or resting stage. The larva attaches itself head down to a sturdy twig or branch, its skin splits, and a chrysalis appears. Monumental changes then occur. Multiple legs become six, chewing mouth parts are replaced with a proboscis, and wings form. Within 8 to 13 days, a butterfly, the high fashion model of the insect world, emerges. Blood from the engorged abdomen is pumped into the flattened wings. Within approximately 30 minutes the wings become rigid, and the adult exoskeleton hardens. Because this final stage of a monarch s life span is beautiful but brief, the monarch takes flight and mates within 3 to 8 days. Page 2 Females may mate several times and lay as many as 700 eggs of the next generation over the next few weeks. Each egg is laid singularly and attached to the underside of a milkweed leaf. Even with the care that mom takes to provide a safe and tasty environment for her offspring, only a very small percentage will survive until the pupal stage, and these will be orphans. Only the final generation of adult butterflies born each year lives longer than 2 to 6 weeks after emerging from the chrysalis stage. This generation, usually the fourth in the Northeast and Canada, emerges in the late summer and early fall. Although in all appearances they look like their parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents, these monarchs are unique and have a life span measured in months, not weeks. (See Unit 3, Section 1, Lesson 2, Migration Relay for further information.) Unit 3 Section 1 Lesson 1:

3 Vocabulary chrysalis the inactive third stage, or pupa, in a butterfly s metamorphosis cocoon the case that contains the pupal stage of some insects during metamorphosis egg the first stage in the process of metamorphosis generation the time lapse between the birth of maternal parents and the birth of the first child instar one stage of a caterpillar s growth, beginning with one molt and ending with the next larva the second developmental stage of some insects (Example: caterpillar) life span the average time between birth and death of an organism life stage a period of time during which specific physiological changes occur metamorphosis a series of changes through which insects go from egg to adult offspring an immature animal resulting from the mating of two adult animals pupa the third stage of many insects metamorphosis sibling offspring of the same parents Extreme Makeover Page 3

4 Logistics Time: two 45 minute time blocks and an additional 30 minutes for Follow Through Group Size: 5 to 30 Space: an area for comfortable seating Materials Handout 1 Monarch Life Cycle Research * Handout 1 Answer Key * Rubric for Individual Work * Animal Babies and Adults Picture Card Set * black/white board or chart paper multiple computers with Internet access or an LCD projector assorted print materials on monarch butterflies * single copy provided Preparation 1. Read the Background section. 2. Make copies of Handout 1, Monarch Life Cycle Research. 3. Arrange time in the computer lab or procure an LCD projector. 4. Collect print material on monarch butterflies, focusing on their life cycle. 5. Preview and select monarch websites for children s use. Activity Challenge: Calculate, compare, and contrast the life spans of two organisms. (Display for group viewing) Page 4 Unit 3 Section 1 Lesson 1:

6 a. Do all living things have the same life span? (no) b. Who lives longer, a human or a butterfly? (a human) c. What is the life span of a monarch butterfly? (6 to 8 weeks from egg to death) 2. Distribute Handout 1, Monarch Life Cycle Research. a. Allow the children to research butterfly metamorphosis using computers and print material. Recommended sites: Journey North: Monarchs in the Classroom: Butterflies 2000: library.thinkquest.org/c002251/index2.shtml b. There are many other sites from which to choose. Go online and search for Monarch Lifecycle. 3. Share research discoveries by reviewing Handout Ask children to compute the life span of a monarch butterfly by computing the sum of each life stage recorded in Handout 1, Question #11. Share and display estimations. 5. Refer to Involvement #1c and evaluate speculations. Follow Up Introduce the term generation (see Vocabulary), and tell the group they are going to compute the length of an average human generation. 1. Give the children the following directions, allowing time for mathematical computation after each step: a. Subtract a grandmother s date of birth (1940) from a mother s date of birth (1963). b. Subtract the mother s date of birth from the mother s oldest child s date of birth (1987). Page 6 Unit 3 Section 1 Lesson 1:

7 c. Add the two differences.. d. Divide this sum by two. 2. Circulate and help those who need it. 3. Explain that this quotient represents a generation. 4. Refer back to Involvement #1a and #1b and compare speculations to findings. Assessment Evaluate the children s work using the Rubric for Individual Work, or evaluate a Compare/Contrast of humans and butterflies. Require children to list 3 points of similarity and 3 points of difference between a human and a butterfly life cycle. Answer Key Possible answers to Compare/Contrast: Points of comparison: both have 4 life stages; both need a male and female parent; both need air, water, and food to survive; both grow and change from birth to death. Points of contrast: humans life stages are longer than the butterflies; humans get to know their ancestors; human immature stages do not differ from the adult stage to the degree that butterflies do. Follow Through Additional Focus Areas: none Additional Focus Skills: none 1. Invite the children to determine the impact of another generation on the scenario. Extreme Makeover Page 7

8 2. Tell the children that the great grandmother in our average family was born in Repeat the Follow Up activity, including the subtraction of the great grandmother s age from the grandmother s age as the starting point and dividing the final sum by 3 instead of Using the same categories and procedure as Follow Up #4, retally the results. 5. Discuss how the addition of another generation impacted the generational score. Resources A special thanks to the following organizations for providing background and assistance in the preparation of this lesson: Monarch Watch Monarch biology and conservation from the University of Kansas; with permission Monarchs in the Classroom (Monarch Lab) Especially for K-12 educators from an entomologist, Karen Oberhauser Journey North: Monarch Butterfly Migration and biology Features yearly migration data, activities, and project participation Suggested Reading Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons Monarchs by Kathryn Lasky See How They Grow by Kim Taylor Butterfly by Kim Taylor My Monarch Journal by Connie Muther Page 8 Unit 3 Section 1 Lesson 1: Extreme Makeover

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