University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Plymouth Middle School 2005

Plymouth Middle School
10011 36th Ave N
Plymouth, MN 55448

Year: 2005
Teacher(s): Sandi Anderson

Amazing Acrobats

Kara J

Do males or females have better climbing ability?  In my experiment I wanted to test monarch's ability to 'climb.'  I thought that the females would have better climbing ability than the males would.  I noticed during observations that monarchs don't always fly - they sometimes walk.  We had three male monarchs and three female monarchs climb a cardboard wall to get to a slice of apple, and we timed them.  We were trying to measure whether one gender could climb faster than the other. We found out that the males we tested climbed faster than the females, so our hypothesis was unsupported.  It would have made our data collection more valid if we used more monarchs and our sampling size was larger.  I learned that monarchs don't mind climbing on a surface like cardboard and that the males seemed more in a hurry to climb up than the females.

A-Mazing Maze Motivators

Janae M, Meg E

In our experiment we put the butterflies in a maze, and recorded the time that it took them to go through it. We were trying to see if  food would motivate the monarchs to go through the maze faster.  We were triing to prove that the butterflies like juices more than hard fruit.  After observing monarchs, we wanted to see how quickly they could go through a maze.  We found out that the one butterfly went fast towards the hard fruit. Two of the butterflies went very slow towards the hard fruit. But one went towards the juices somewhat fast. That is why our hypothesis was somewhat supported. We found that the female with the apples went faster than the males with apples. We learned that food didn't seem to motivate them and that a long maze might be too complicated for them.


Do monarchs fly more in the light or in the dark?

Sarah L

After watching the monarchs in our class, we wanted to see if they flew around more in the light or in the dark.  A monarch was placed in a cage on a piece of paper that had a circle of loose glitter on it.    After five minutes we checked the amount of glitter that had moved to see when they had been most active.  We found that the monarchs had moved more glitter in the light than in the dark for two of the butterflies we tested.   The ratio of light to dark for  # 889 was 59:29 and for #768 was 53:14.   For the butterflies that weren't as active the results were a little different.  The ratio of light to dark for #791 was 2:4 and for # 754 was 5:6.  We enjoyed our project and learned a lot about monarchs and their behavior in light and dark.

Do wind and light make a difference?

Andy M

How will a monarch react to wind as it tries to get to the light?  During class I saw monarchs who escaped fly up into the lights and fly toward the window.  Sometimes there was a fan or wind coming from the window area.  I decided to test several monarchs and see if the wind or light made a difference.  I was trying to prove how strong monarchs are, and how fast they can fly in the wind.  I also wanted to know if lighting made a difference.  I learned that wind doesn't affect their flying because they'll just fly over it. Another thing I found out was that lighting affected their flying a lot.  Each monarch behaved differently, so their flight patterns were different. Sometimes when other people were doing experiments with light the monarchs would fly over to the lights instead of to the window. 

Favorite Flavors

Melissa C, Haley P

During observations we noticed that monarchs seemed to eat a variety of foods.  We wanted to find out which flavor was their favorite.  We gave our monarchs one food per day, then weighed them daily to see how much they gained on that particular food.  We then changed to the next type of food.  We were trying to figure out if monarchs liked Gatorade, fruit juice, or pop the best.  All foods were mixed with 20% juice and 80% water. The monarchs gained the most weight when they ate the Sunkist, and they gained the least weight on the Cran-Grape juice.  In fact, they actually lost weight on the Cran-Grape juice.  We didn't have a really big sample size.  We were scrambling to find butterflies on a Friday because some other students had moved some of the butterflies.  One new thing Melissa learned surprised her.  They liked Sunkist best, a soda. She thought they would like a juice the best, so, her hypothesis was unsupported.  Haley, on the other hand, thought that they would like soda most, and her hypothesis was supported. Another thing we observed is that monarchs have a wide range of foods they eat.  Some ate things that others did not. We had fun during the experiment!

In the Air or on the Ground!

Vivian C

Do monarchs like their food hanging or on the ground?  Does it make a difference in their weight gain?  Butterflies eat food in nature by eating from flowering plants and fruits that are available.  I wondered if they prefer to eat from a higher place, or if they would eat on the ground as from a flower.  The average weight gain for the weight of the monarchs was 0.54 grams which was 0.04 grams more than the hanging weights.  We should have had a larger sample size.  To make it more accurate, we should have used a larger sample and for more days.   We also might have made the dish fasten from the bottom.  The strings we used to attach it to the ceiling of the cage might have gotten in the way of their getting to the food on their own.  

Mazes, is the solution sight or smell?

Ben Z

In my experiment, I tested butterflies on their sense of smell and sight. My purpose is that I was trying to find which sense is better - sight or smell.  It took me a long time to do this project but it was worth it. The maze is very small.   It has 3 rooms -  a finish room, a starting room and the one room in the middle where the monarchs are being timed.  By varying the scent (smell) or colored paper on the trail (sight) I thought I would see a difference in their behavior.  I thought that they would move through the maze to the end at different speeds, depending what was at the end.

Weight Watchers Monarch Edition

Sterling N

My project is about weight and what gender weighs LESS.  I used an electronic balance and measured in grams. I found some interesting results. My hypothesis was that females will weigh less. My hypothesis was unsupported. I weighed monarchs from our classroom this year and I also used data from previous years to ensure an accurate result.  

Wonderful World of Color

Sarah A, Michaela B

This Project was created by: Sarah A., Michaela B., Kayla S.

Abstract: We wanted to do this project because we thought that if we could find out what colors they like best, people could plant flowers the colors that the monarchs like, which might help the monarch population. We enjoyed doing this project and we learned many things about monarchs and their eating habits. We found out that monarchs like some bright colors and some dark colors, preferably pink and blue. We thought that they would like only bright colors like pink and yellow, so you could say that our hypothesis was supported in some ways and unsupported in others. Hopefully you'll find this project as interesting as we did.

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