Birds of Prey Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Julie Zundel

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.

This lesson plan explores the birds of prey by using fun, hands-on methods. Students will get to be creative and will also learn about some adaptations and fun facts about this amazing group of birds.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson students will be able to:

  • Discuss similarities and differences amongst the raptor groups.
  • List an example species within each group.
  • List some unique adaptations for at least two of the raptor groups.
  • Discuss form and function for at least two of the raptor groups.

Length

  • 3 hours (although it is recommended these activities be divided up into sections)

Materials (divided by sections, or bird group)

  • Sticky notes
  • Materials to make a 6 flapped flipbooks(stapler, paper)
  • Art supplies to decorate flipbook (markers, crayons, etc.)
  • Copies of Birds of Prey Facts: Lesson for Kids, one per student.
  • Copies of the lesson quiz, one per student

Owl Materials

  • Two tennis balls (per table)
  • Paper plate (per student)
  • String (optional)

Vulture Materials

  • Image of a predatory raptor foot and the image of a scavenging raptor foot
  • Image of a predatory raptor beak and the image of a scavenging raptor beak
  • Optional: materials for students to make a vulture (scavenging raptor) food and beak

Eagle Materials

  • Toilet paper rolls (one per student)
  • Brown, yellow and white construction paper
  • Brown tissue paper
  • Glue and tape
  • Scissors

Hawk Materials

  • Cardboard pieces
  • Grass, moss, feathers, leaves (students can gather materials, or they can be provided)
  • Glue, tape

Falcon materials

  • Images of falcon vs. other birds of prey
  • Materials for paper airplanes: paper, scissors, glue, and straws.

Curriculum Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.1

Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.2

Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.3

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.

Instructions

Begin by dividing the board into two sections: birds of prey and not birds of prey. Have students write one bird of prey they are familiar with on a sticky note and a bird they know is not a bird of prey on another sticky note. Then they should affix their sticky to the appropriate column on the board. Take a moment to go over the sticky notes, moving them around if need be.

Now students should create a flipbook with the following flaps:

  • Characteristics
  • Owls
  • Vultures
  • Eagles
  • Hawks
  • Falcons

As a class, read the first section of Birds of Prey Facts: Lesson for Kids and then add the vocabulary terms and characteristics to the first flap. Students can take a moment to draw some birds of prey they are familiar with on that flap as well. For each section, there will be a specific activity unique to that bird group. They are divided up below.

Owls

  • As a class read the owl section and have students take notes on diet, size, and example species.
  • Next, go over some owl adaptations:
    • Hand out the tennis balls and have students place the ball on their eyes (that's the size of an owl's eyes if owls were human sized).
      • Discussion: owls can't move their eyes side to side, so how do they see side to side? (can move head 280 degrees)
      • Why do owls need such big eyes? (to see at night)
    • Hand out paper plates and have students place them on their faces like a disk (optional: younger students can draw an owl on the plate and use the string to wear it as a mask).
      • Discussion: What benefit would there be to having a flat face? (it collets sound waves)
  • Add some adaptations to the owl flap.

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