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Fill the Bill

Elementary

Description

Birds are remarkable in their variety and adaptations.  This lesson introduces students to the types of beaks that enable different bird species to feed on particular foods.  As they use household objects to mimic feeding activity, students will achieve the following learning objectives:

  • Analyze how beak shape relates to the type of food eaten.
  • Compare and contrast bird beaks and bills.
  • Classify and sort birds based on feeding strategies.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Analysis
  • Classification
  • Observation
  • Problem solving

Strengths

  • Activity is well organized with a complete list of materials required
  • Unique approach that encourages exploration
  • Relevant topic

Weaknesses

  • Assessment is described but not supported with accompanying materials
  • Does not include suggestions for conservation actions

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource supports science curriculum examining the basic needs of animals and adaptations.  Students also use science process skills such as classification, observation and making hypotheses.  

This lesson encourages an interest in birds.  Discussions around this topic will raise awareness that declining songbird populations are a significant environmental issue.  A class can easily develop action projects to help protect bird populations in their community  For example, a community awareness campaign to educate residents about harm caused by roaming cats could encourage pet owners to have their cats wear bells outside or provide controlled outdoor spaces.  Bird feeders could also be added to the school grounds to support overwintering species and add a nature component to outdoor play.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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    • Grade 3
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Investigating change and the diversity of Earth’s systems helps us to develop understandings of the conditions necessary to sustain life.
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Investigating change and the diversity of Earth’s systems helps us to develop understandings of the conditions necessary to sustain life.
  • British Columbia
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    • Grade 3
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 3: Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in their ecosystems
  • Manitoba
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    • Grade 2
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Growth and Changes in Animals
    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Habitat and Communities
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Habitats
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 2
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Animal Growth and Changes
    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Habitats
  • Northwest Territories
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    • Grade 2
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Science: Growth and Changes in Animals
    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Habitats & Communities
  • Nova Scotia
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    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 4: Habitats
  • Nunavut
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    • Grade 2
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Science: Growth and Changes in Animals
    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Habitats & Communities
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 2
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Animal Growth and Changes:Investigating the Needs and Life Cycles of an Organism
    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Habitats
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 2
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Animal Growth and Changes
    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Habitats and Communities
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 2: Living things have life cycles adapted to their environment
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 4: All living things sense and respond to their environment

Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (2)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Biodiversity

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

Students will link new information and understanding about bird adaptations and habitat requirements which supports discussions surrounding environmental challenges like habitat loss and climate change.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Satisfactory

Declining bird populations are a significant environmental concern which a teacher can also discuss in relation to the social and economic implications of the loss of ecological functions like insect control.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Poor/Not considered
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

The lesson includes an extension suggestion that has students investigate local bird species and apply new learning to analyze the habitat requirements of these species.  This exercise will encourage a conservation ethic as students become aware of the needs of local populations.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

This activity supports discussions surrounding conservation and the value of wildlife to each individual.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

The resource topic stimulates curiosity about nature and students are encouraged to observe birds in their natural environment.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

Using bird beaks and bills as an example of adaptations provides a learning experience that students can apply in their daily lives as birds are easily observed and present in all environments.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Poor/Not considered
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

Prior knowledge is activated through a hands-on inquiry process that supports independent thinking.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

Although primarily a science lesson, the content can be used to support mathematics learning related to shapes and social studies discussions around sustainability.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

Exploration is a key component of the lesson as students use household objects to simulate birds feeding and investigate how each tool relates to the type of food that can be picked up.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Poor/Not considered

The activity and topic will appeal to learners who enjoy kinesthetic lessons.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

An authentic problem forms the basis of the lesson and a hands-on approach engages students in a meaningful problem-solving task that is applicable and relevant.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

Students work individually and in small groups.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory

The suggested assessment tool involves students investigating birds outside, hypothesizing what a particular species eats and designing an experiment to test this hypothesis.  A rubric or worksheet could be developed by the teacher to use this activity to formally evaluate learning.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Poor/Not considered

Peer teaching could be incorporated into this lesson by having student presentations about the life history of specific bird species.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Satisfactory

This lesson is an ideal introduction to a comprehensive learning unit about local bird species where students explore the biology and habitat requirements of birds in their community.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

The lesson encourages interaction with the outdoor environment which provides an authentic learning experience that fosters discovery.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.