Milkweed and Monarch Butterfly Mania

Calculating Milkweed Leaf Surface Area

Amy and her brother, Mike, grow milkweed plants for the monarch butterflies. Mike has observed that many of the leaves are partially eaten on the tallest plant. He is wondering what percentage of the plant's total leaf surface area has been consumed.

Amy explains to him that the solution to his question begins by calculating the surface area of a milkweed leaf.

Watch Calculating the Area of Scotland @ Countdown videos

1. Open a word processing document. Write directions for Mike explaining how to find the surface area of a milkweed leaf.


2. What impact would the loss of leaf surface have on a milkweed plant?

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Resources | Measuring - estimation of length | Collecting Data

Plant Explorer | Measurement - area & perimeter videos

Pennsylvania Science Anchors
S.A.2. Processes, Procedures, and Tools of Scientific Investigations

S.A.3. Systems, Models, and Patterns

Science NetLinks Benchmark 5 - The Living Environment
How living things function and interact. A. Diversity of Life

"One of the most general distinctions among organisms is between plants, which use sunlight to make their own food, and animals, which consume energy-rich foods. Animals and plants have a great variety of body plans and internal structures that contribute to their being able to make or find food and reproduce. All organisms, including the human species, are part of and depend on two main interconnected global food webs."

D. Interdependence of Life - " In all environments freshwater, marine, forest, desert, grassland, mountain, and others organisms with similar needs may compete with one another for resources, including food, space, water, air, and shelter.

Two types of organisms may interact with one another in several ways: They may be in a producer/consumer, predator/prey, or parasite/host relationship."

milkweed plant

Variables | Scientific Process | Watering Milkweed Spreadsheet

Participate in Monitoring Monarch Larval Monitoring Project

"People can often learn about things around them by just observing those things carefully, but sometimes they can learn more by doing something to the things and noting what happens. Describing things as accurately as possible is important in science because it enables people to compare their observations with those of others.

Tools such as thermometers, magnifiers, rulers, or balances often give more information about things than can be obtained by just observing things without their help." Science NetLinks Benchmark 1- Nature of science - How science works

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