Julie has taught high school Zoology, Biology, Physical Science and Chem Tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Education.
After this lesson, students will be able to:
- Define and use the terms 'migration,' 'offspring' and 'predator'
- Explain why birds migrate
- List some migratory bird species
- Describe the journey of one (or more) species of birds and explain some challenges the bird(s) experiences
- Discussion, reading and notes: 60 minutes
- Bird tracking activity (depending on data obtained): 60-70 minutes
- Copies of the text lesson, Bird Migration Lesson For Kids, one for each student
- Crayons and markers
- Copies of the quiz, one for each student
- Images of migratory birds (arctic tern, great snipe and penguin)
- Satellite tracking data for several bird species
- This data can be obtained on the internet with searches such as: 'radio telemetry' and 'satellite tracking of birds.'
- Copies of a small map of North America (or a map that covers the migration patterns of the bird selected for your activity)
Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.
Warm-Up and Lesson
- Begin the class by posing the following questions:
- What is migration?
- There are a lot of risks associated with migrating: energy use, predation, weather. What are the upsides?
- Can you think of any animals that migrate?
- Students can work in teams to answer the questions, then have them share their answers (right or wrong) with the class.
- Hand out the lesson, Bird Migration Lesson For Kids, and have students prepare a sheet for note taking.
- Suggestions for the note sheet: Divide the paper into three parts, 'What is Migration,' 'Food' and 'Babies.'
- Introduce the topic of bird migration with some fun facts:
- The arctic tern flies nearly 50,000 miles each year. (Show the image of an arctic tern.)
- Around 40% of bird species migrate.
- The great snipe can travel at speeds of 60 mph. (Show the image of the great snipe.)
- 7 million birds die each year by hitting radio/TV towers.
- There are birds that migrate that don't fly. (Show the penguin image.)
- Begin reading the text lesson as a class, and stop periodically so that students can fill in each section of their notes. Students can use the crayons and markers to draw an image to go with each section in order to personalize their notes.
- For this activity, students will use use bird-tracking data to track the migration of a selected bird (or multiple birds) as a class. Data can be obtained from the prior year so students can complete the full migration over the span of an entire year.
- This can be completed as a class using thumbtacks and a large classroom map, as well as the small map handouts. As students are given a location from the satellite tracking data, place a pin in that location. The students should mark the location on their own maps. (Alternatively, each student can be assigned a bird and can complete the tracking using Google Earth or a similar program.)
- After students complete the tracking, discuss the following:
- What were some obstacles the birds faced (i.e., cities, mountain ranges and bodies of water).
- How did the routes of the birds compare? The origin and destinations?
- Why do you think some species go to different locations?
- Many of the summer destinations are in the Arctic. Why do you think the Arctic is a good place to raise offspring?
- After the activity, have students complete the lesson quiz to recall and demonstrate understanding of the lesson.
- Follow the migration of other animals, such as caribou, sea turtles and monarch butterflies, and compare those with birds. Do all animals migrate for the same reason?
- Have a guest speaker from you local Fish and Game Department visit the class to discuss local migratory birds.
- Go on a field trip during migratory periods to view birds migrating (if your location allows).
- Look at bird adaptations that make them well-suited for migration.
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