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The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Journey North's site is an excellent reference for any kid interested in tracking the annual fall migration of monarch butterflies to and from Mexico. There's no inappropriate material or ads. Registration is required if kids want to post monarch sightings or participate in the "symbolic migration" with their class (paper butterflies are sent to children in Mexico, who send them back when the butterflies migrate back north).
What's it about?
LEARNER.ORG/JNORTH/MONARCH includes videos, slideshows, interactive maps, and a bundle of teacher resources about the migration of the monarch butterfly. Registration is free and allows kids to get weekly email updates and submit data reports (i.e. monarch migration sightings). Older kids can also do research for reports or just for fun. Classrooms can participate in the symbolic migration project where kids make paper butterflies and send them to students in Mexico who watch over them during the winter until the real monarchs leave for their migration back north. Then, the paper butterflies are sent back to the classrooms in the north. The site also covers sunlight, plants, and the migration of robins, whooping cranes, hummingbirds, gray whales, and bald eagles.
Is it any good?
This monarch butterfly hub includes an excellent array of interactive features and beautiful photos. The home page reports on the progress of the Journey North project, but young visitors can also go straight to the kids' section for monarch videos, photos, and activities. There's also a cool slideshow that illustrates the monarch's life cycle and migration. Curious kids will love the monarch FAQ, which covers everything from monarchs' eating habits to senses to enemies.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how educational sites can be used to do research. How can you tell if a site is a trusted source of information? Also, what kind of media do you like to see on a Web site? Photos? Videos? Written text? Do you think having more than one of these avenues of relaying information helps you learn? How?
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