This post was contributed by Connie Lake and Deb Moffit, NCEA Monarch Grant Program Teacher Leaders.
Enthusiasm for our Monarch Rescue Garden continues to ignite the 5th/6th grade students as they watch nature’s visitors to the garden and watch the changes taking place. We’ve seen birds pick pieces of old leaves and vine off of our trellis and take it away to build their nest. The tulips that we planted last fall are beginning to grow and we have found that some of our wildflowers are also sticking their heads up out of the ground (leaves are beginning to show).
We have begun a blog on our school’s webpage so we can report what’s happening in nature and what we are learning in the classroom. We are building a model of an Oyamel fir forest with roosting butterflies that is located in the main hall of the school for the other students to see.
On Tuesday mornings we now have Citizen Scientist Tuesday’s when Miss Deb comes in to teach us about various topics related to the garden. We learned about pollination, the parts of the flower and different types of pollinators and we will be learning how to be citizen scientists.
On February 19, we had a conference call interview with the newspaper for the Peoria Diocese, The Catholic Post. The article was in the February 28, 2016 issue of the paper.
Considering STREAM teaching; we are learning a lot of science; for technology, we are learning to maintain our blog; for religion, we learned about St. Francis of Assissi and how he saw God in all of creation and treated everything with dignity; for math, we calculated the distance from our school to the Oyamel fir forest in Mexico. Next months’ topics will include art and engineering.
The other classes are also learning about the butterflies. The Kindergarten class learned about symmetry and butterflies, and the 1st/2nd grade class worked on color patterns and symmetry and made their own color patterns on a caterpillar.
Mrs. Lake and Miss Deb are developing the 5th/6th grade lesson plans and have been collecting the butterfly-related lesson plans from the other teachers in the school. We are trying to determine how to share these with the rest of the group.
Sts. Peter & Paul School in Nauvoo, Illinois, is a two-time recipient of the NCEA Monarch Rescue Grant. Grantee schools will share monthly updates on their efforts in researching, planning, building, and maintaining the very best monarch-friendly butterfly gardens possible. They will monitor the success or failure of the garden, learning from problems they encounter to plan improvements in subsequent years. Most important, the developing learning modules will incorporate Catholic social teaching on stewardship of the resources God has provided us.