Montessori Monarch Butterfly Nomenclature Puzzle

$ 59.99

Monarch Butterfly puzzle designed with multi level learning features built right in. Read butterfly facts under the pieces, compare how big an actual Monarch is and learn how to tell which end is the head of the caterpillar. Did you know there’s a quick and easy way to tell whether you are looking at a male or female Monarch? Even if you are not a budding entomologist, you will become much more curious about the insect world after learning about Monarchs. Download the Free Monarch puzzle learning guide from the Montessori Printables and Downloads page!

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Montessori Monarch Butterfly Nomenclature Puzzle

A unique, high quality wooden Montessori Monarch Butterfly nomenclature puzzle handcrafted from solid plywood for durability.

The Montessori philosophy features a strong emphasis on learning the “parts of” things as well as the proper word for describing each part. “Nomenclature” is a term used in the sciences in particular, which describes the system of naming things. Whether scientists are referring to chemical compounds or plants, a system of nomenclature is used to reduce confusion and increase accuracy.

Dr. Maria Montessori used her scientific background in applying this system to her educational pedagogy. For example, when teaching children about turtles, the turtle does not just have a “shell” but a “plastron” (the belly) and a “carapace” (the ‘shell’). Children love to learn the proper terms for things and do not bat an eye when speaking about a butterfly’s “proboscis” or “abdomen”.

In a typical Montessori Casa classroom (the 3-6 year old group), these are the types of words that a child is learning, and is very capable of learning. Many a parent has been educated by their young Montessori child about the scientific name for animal or plant part!

Nomenclature Puzzle Design

This Monarch butterfly puzzle is designed with the Montessori nomenclature system in mind. The puzzle is cut into the main body parts. Both the butterfly and caterpillar are represented. In addition, there are insect facts printed on the base of the puzzle underneath the pieces.

The puzzle has 2 secret learning features! One is a design feature to help children learn which end is the head of the caterpillar. And the second is a way to help children understand the actual size of a Monarch butterfly.

In addition, the knobs on the pieces encourage the development of the pincer grip. The pincer grip is a precursor skill in preparation for holding a pencil and learning to write. The knobs are just the right size for a child to have to negotiate the hand-eye control to grab the knob, and secondly to pinch three fingers into the pincer grip to pick up the piece.

Not Just for Montessori Schools

Although the features and design of this puzzle are in line with the Montessori philosophy, all children can benefit from the learning opportunities it represents. Whether you have a classroom in a traditional elementary or primary school, or are engaged in homeschooling, this puzzle can form the basis for lesson plans and activities for all children.

Puzzle Construction

As with all Puzzle Heads Originals products, each one begins as hand drawn artwork created in our studios. Sometimes ideas may evolve from rough sketches with good old paper and pencil. Other times, the concept may be created entirely digitally. Once each image is perfected, it ultimately becomes a digital illustration in the computer.

The Monarch nomenclature puzzle was planned and designed first entirely on paper over 10 years ago! The original design has been updated and modified over the years. However it still remains one our our most popular puzzles.

Each puzzle is digitally printed and varnished. Then each puzzle is cut by hand and the pieces carefully sanded to silky smoothness.

These puzzles are constructed from solid Baltic Birch plywood, not pressboard or Masonite. As a result, they will never get rounded corners or “fraying” on the edges. You are purchasing an heirloom quality product that withstands rugged classroom use and will last through many hand-me downs at home.


  •  Monarch butterfly, milkweed fluff and a caterpillar larva on a milkweed leaf
  •  11 knobbed pieces
  •  Caterpillar is cut in three pieces to allow comparison of the two ends – which end is the head ??
  •  Caterpillar feet are cut with a pointy zig zag to hilight the pointed thoracic feet (head end) and a flattened cut to hilight the flat rear feet
  •  Pieces cut to match my nomenclature card sets (Wings, Abdomen/Thorax, Head, Antennae, Caterpillar, Milkweed Leaf)
  •  Size: 11″ x 11″

Handmade in Canada.


Weight 0.52 kg
Dimensions 28.5 × 28.5 × 1.5 cm


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