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A natural rite of autumn serves as science and geography lesson

on September 24, 2019
Two students stand at both sides of a smart board presenting to others who sit on a rug on the classroom floor.

Former PIE students, Emmerson Powers and Alix Ragans, share their knowledge in monarch tagging and recording data.

Direct flights from Sanfordville Elementary to Mexico? With a tiny, harmless sticker on their back to indicate their place of origin, monarch butterflies were recently released from Sanfordville’s school grounds and set off to Mexico for the winter months. 

The momentous event for Sanfordville’s third and fourth graders was organized by the Partners in Education (PIE) program with the help of two former PIE students, Emmerson Powers and Alix Ragans, who lent their knowledge in monarch tagging and recording data to the delicate operation.     

Appreciation for the natural environment and curriculum integration are two of the cornerstones of PIE learning. Outdoor activities encourage exploration and help students make connections between instruction and the real world through hands-on experiences and the use of tools and technology. 

Sanfordville’s PIE students were first introduced to the butterfly life cycle during May’s northern monarch migration by parent partners Abbey Ashley and Laure Ragans. They learned about the  role of milkweed in monarch survival, gender identification, mimicry, and overall sustainability of butterfly populations. Children were encouraged to build their own pollinator gardens over the summer to help increase butterflies as well as bees in the area.

Related instruction supported a geography unit and culminated with a presentation on the watch’s tracking of the monarch’s fall migration to Mexico by fifth and sixth-grade students on the MAC/Orange Team, the Middle School’s PIE classroom. 

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