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Articles : Gulliver's Story

An Exercise in Active Learning (Grades 2-4)

QUESTIONS BASED ON GULLIVER

1. Why is it important for the Monarch to seek shelter at night?

2. How does the female Monarch find the milkweeds upon which she lays her eggs as she flies over the meadow? (see also 7,8)

3. Why did the bird let her go?

4. How does Gulliver break out of the pupal cuticle? Why does the larvae have to shed its skin or cuticle? How does it do this?

5. What is metamorphosis?

6. What are the ridges or veins in the wings? What are they used for? If you rub the wings of a butterfly, the color will come off and your fingers will seem to be covered by a fine powder. What is this dust? How is it attached to the wing?

7. What do these changes allow the adult to do that the caterpillar can't do?

8. How do butterflies and caterpillars smell their host plants?

9. Why is pollination important?

10. Why fly to Mexico? Why not stay in Wisconsin? Most insects do not migrate.

11. How do the Monarchs "know" when to migrate? How do they find their way to Mexico? How does Gulliver know what direction to take?

12. How does Gulliver use the winds to minimize the cost of flying and how does he avoid poor weather conditions?

13. What is special about the roost areas in Mexico?

14. What information does Gulliver get from the environment that stimulates him to begin his flight to the north in March?

15. Why does Gulliver need a supply of fat?


OTHER QUESTIONS NOT REFERENCED

How does Gulliver expand his wings?

How many of Gulliver's brothers and sisters survive?

Why not mate and migrate in the fall?

How does Gulliver spend his winter? i.e., How does he spend each day?

Monarchs appear to be brightly colored, a color which is thought to advertise that they are distasteful because of the poisonous chemicals consumed by the larvae as they feed on the milkweeds. But, in the trees at the roosts, they often look like dead leaves. Could their color and pattern work both as a warning coloration and as a camouflage?

Why do Monarchs choose to roost in certain trees and not others?

Do the Monarchs fly directly to Mexico or do they zig-zag across the country?

Why do Monarchs have to be aware, in some broad sense, of where they are relative to where they want to be in Mexico?

How does the female Monarch glue the egg to the underside of the leaf?

Why do female Monarchs usually only lay one egg per plant?

Why do the larvae eat the egg shell after emerging from the egg and before they begin eating leaves? Also, why, after each molt, do the larvae eat their newly molted skin before they start eating leaves again?

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