This blended learning research project focuses on relationships between diversity and survival. Students research birds and their adaptations, write, and publish. They compare birds from arctic, temperate, and tropical climate zones. Activities are guided by an interactive website.
Research revolves around an essential question: How have this bird’s adaptations prepared it for survival?
- Project-Based Learning (PBL) – Present a real-life scenario: Working for a publishing company, each group of students will contribute an article for a new publication, What a Little Bird Told Me.
- Research Writing – Use only the research tasks to write a research paper.
- Pick and Choose – Six different tasks provide lots of options for learning in your classroom.
- Become an Expert Blended Learning – Using the Adaptations pages of ProjectBeak.org, students first read a section opener to answer questions then peruse a specific area of adaptation and complete a poster to share with the class. Each student explores a different bird adaptation in this jigsaw activity.
- Watch Videos – Multimedia experiences expand students’ understanding of adaptations.
- Research a Bird – Students form three-person teams. Each team is assigned to a specific family of birds (e.g., owls). Each member of the group selects a different bird – one must live in an arctic habitat, another in a temperate climate, and the third in the tropics. Students then conduct individual research using either mind maps or note cards. They use boxes and bullets to organize information then write multi-paragraph essays.
- Analyze Formats – Students evaluate formats of five animal information websites (and a sixth that they have selected themselves). They record which features they like, which they dislike, and which they would like to adopt for their own templates.
- Create a Presentation – Students create their own templates. They plug in photographs, diagrams, and text from their research writing.
- Compare and Contrast – With their bird family groups, students share information about related birds living in three different climates and record in a table. Using a Venn diagram, they find similarities and differences. Optional: Students agree on a format for sharing their findings and create a product (poster, slide show, multiple-paragraph essay, speech, song, skit, etc.)
You can adjust breadth, sophistication, features, and product to reach all learners. That way, you can challenge all populations, including your gifted and talented (GATE) learners.
- Breadth of research – All students research general appearance and habitat, beak, and feet. Students who acquire facts, add observations, and make inferences more rapidly/thoroughly may also research wings, eggs and babies, nest, migration, communication, and other adaptations found through research.
- Sophistication of informative essay – All students will write multiple-paragraph informative essays. Students demonstrating talent in writing may work on two new skills: adding transition sentences and using analogies to deepen audience understanding.
- Features of presentation format – All students will create presentation formats that synch color palettes and include visuals. Students who are adept at graphic design and/or technology may also add sound, video, and other special features.
- Product for compare/contrast activity – Choice of product for sharing similarities and differences provides a different kind of differentiation. Here, students collaborate to select a format that works with their learning styles.
- Lesson Plans (3 pages)
- Become an Expert (52 pages, also available as a stand-alone resource) – To introduce bird adaptations, each student explores a different adaptation, answers questions, and completes a mini poster. Research sheets correspond to the Adaptations section of Project Beak, an educational website.
- Group Assignments (5 pages) – Eleven topic assignment cards feature different bird families and provide basic instructions. Topic choice cards provide spaces to list specific birds that each group member has selected. A group member sheet lets the teacher keep track of who’s in which group.
- Research Option 1: Mind Maps (15 pages) – Student draw a picture in the middle of the page, then map outward with facts and ideas. They may use labeled mind maps (appearance, habitat, beak, feet, wings, eggs and babies, nest, migration, and communication) or create their own using the blank template. Directions, boxes and bullets, and an assessment are also included.
- Research Option 2: Note Sheets (18 pages) – If you’re looking for something more traditional, use the note sheets. Six labeled sheets (appearance, habitat, food, reproduction, nest, other) keep kids’ notes organized. Directions, criteria, and a rubric are also included.
- Format Analysis (2 pages) – Using the website, students analyze formats
- used for animal articles. Then they create templates for their own presentations.
- Compare and Contrast (3 pages) – Students in each group list features of the tropical, temperate, and arctic birds in the family. They compare and contrast the attributes in a Venn diagram. Optional: Groups may create presentations based on their comparisons.
- Companion Website - This resource includes a supporting Google Site. Kids using Gmail, G Suite, Chromebooks, or any online learning device can access the interactive website with no problem. It guides their bird research, allows them to safely access additional blended learning activities, and lets them view private video content.
Would you like to do a science activity related to adaptations? Try this free bird beak lab.
This activity works great as an Animal Research Chromebook Activity!