Bird Beaks, Not Just For Show
Lesson 5 of 6
Objective: Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all by using a model to simulate a beak.
We have been indirectly learning about adaptations, but I have not yet introduced the academic word until this lesson. I find that using a PowerPoint during the guided practice of a lesson helps introduce vocabulary students may grapple with in the new content that they are being exposed to as well as the scientific vocabulary. The powerpoint not only helped keep the lesson on track especially when completing a lab but build anticipation through visuals.
My students used a modified Frayer model to help them with academic vocabulary. I find that when they draw what they understand, it helps solidify it in their minds. The Adaptations of Bird Beaks PowerPoint also helps lead them to the investigation. I ask open ended questions, and I also focus on small group discussions. My students need to become comfortable with framing their questions and their answers, using Sample Accountable Talk Sentence Stems and Starters, used in turn and talk, as well as whole group discussions, helped them achieve this. They also constructed an argument and then gave their reasoning, since I let them work on their claim with a team member it allows them to practice academic vocabulary as well as the accountable talk
Using a model to simulate a phenomena is the best way my students can make sense of what they are learning. On the surface, the lab does not seem deep but it is immensely powerful. My students are noticing a characteristic of birds that they know, recognize, and have seen first hand, but now, they get it. Why are there so many different beaks? I had one student tell me he never even thought about it, he just thought it was just like our hair, you know it's there, but you never really think, why. I was glad that I had created the bird beak focus page for their lab along with beaks labsheet. It's a journey that we take together and the focus page is our guide. Here is a picture of students using tweezers as beaks picking up raisins simulating insects .
Class Discussion/Wrap up
After they completed the lab they had time to discuss their findings in their groups as well as re-formulate their claim if they needed to. I used the CER , claim, evidence and reasoning, at the end of the lab focus page because it enabled them to talk and discuss what they observed and it allowed my students to digest what was completed.