Birds Help Their Young Survive (Cranes)
Lesson 12 of 16
Objective: SWBAT determine patterns in cranes' behavior that help their offspring survive.
Over the next 4 lessons, I introduce different species of birds. We watch how the parents care for their offspring and help them survive. Throughout, we add information to a Comparison Chart. The bottom section of the comparison chart includes WOW facts. This is where we record really unique facts, and it will help students complete the culminating task-- writing an opinion about which bird has the most interesting way to help its young survive.
In today's lesson, we learn about cranes. I start with a National Geographic Young Explorer online article. I love having these magazines on-hand for students to reread, so my school orders them. The online version is also free, which is great if your students have 1-to-1 devices! I have structured the reading around Common Core ELA standard RI 1.2, identifying the main topic and retelling the key details. We will be recording our details on the comparison chart.
Then, we will watch a video where biologists hand-raise cranes. The biologists have puppets on their arm to mimic the adult cranes, all in an attempt to raise the number of cranes in the wild. This video really affects children, as they see one way humans and animals interact.
I start off today by connecting to our previous lesson's learning. Throughout this unit, we have recorded our observations and understandings on a KLEWS chart, which is a science-specific type of KWL.
Yesterday, we asked the question, "How do parent birds take care of their young?" We recorded what we already knew here on our KLEWS chart. Let's remind ourselves about what we already knew. (We read them together.) Then, we watched some videos about nests and learned even more through observations! I still don't think a rock nest can be comfortable, do you?
Next, I want to display and introduce the science term offspring. It is in the content standard, so it's important that students use it interchangeably with the word babies. First graders are absolutely capable of using scientific vocabulary, such as offspring, if they are provided with vocabulary support. On a KLEWS chart, science vocabulary goes under the "S" Science column. The chart remains up in the classroom and is referred to on a nearly daily basis during science; so, students see the word again and again, and can find it if they want to use it in their writing. In my classroom, I want students to truly own their vocabulary words. I introduce the word, use it in a sentence, and ask students to use it in a sentence too.
Before we start our new learning today, I want to teach you the fancy science word for babies. It's called offspring. Yesterday, we learned about robins building a nest for their offspring. Birds take care of their offspring. *You* are your parents' offspring! Drew and Mia are *my* offspring! Turn to the person next to you and use the word offspring in a sentence.
Next, we will act out holding and rocking a baby, our offspring. Now, in the remainder of the unit, I will use either word and will encourage students to use the scientific term as well. I write "offspring-- babies" under the "S" section on the KLEWS chart.
I'm going to write the word offspring right here on our KLEWS chart, so we can find it whenever we forget it! We'll add a clue as a reminder too-- I'll draw a little baby!
To begin, I share the objective.
Today, we will read an article to identify the main topic and retell key details about how birds care for their young.
I have chosen an article about cranes in National Geographic Young Explorer, pages 16-23 (you'll have to flip the pages to get to it!). I love to have the paper copies on-hand, but if your school doesn't yet order them, there is a free online magazine edition.
Next, I introduce the graphic organizer that will be with us for the next few lessons. In the resources here, I included a blank and sample completed version for you.
We will be reading about a kind of bird called cranes. We will record our new learning from the article on this graphic organizer. Here (point to the top line), I wrote the type of bird, cranes. Here (point down the left column) are some of the ideas we have about how birds protect their young. There is also a space for WOW facts about how this bird takes care of its young. I'm going to cover up the other portions of the graphic organizer right now, because today we only need to think about cranes.
By reading each section of the Comparison Chart, I set the purpose for reading and listening. As we read each page, we come back to the chart to see if we have found information to add.
I facilitate a shared reading of the text, pausing to note key details on our graphic organizer. For example, we learn that yes, cranes build nests. I put a check mark in the nest row. Then, we add to the WOW section that the nest is actual *in* water!
During reading, I also ask students to use the photographs to compare adult and baby cranes. How are they similar? How are they different? This article uses the word "fuzzy" to describe the chicks, and the photographs show short little yellow and white feathers that are very different from mom and dad. Both have long legs, though, to help them walk through the water. This discussion is informal, and we aren't recording our comparisons, but we are moving towards an understanding of NGSS 1-LS3-1. I also make sure to point out that the baby cranes hiding in their parents' feathers is a way that the offspring help themselves survive.
Next, I introduce a video that really stays with children, as they see a way that humans help cranes. First graders love the idea of saving the world! I tell them that cranes have a problem-- there aren't as many cranes now as there used to be. Scientists are worried that cranes may become extinct (I define this word too, and students look horrified at the very notion!). I tell them that in this video, they can see how humans are helping crane offspring. Biologists are actually taking care of eggs and chicks. I emphasize that this is one kind of job scientists have, and that someday they could have as well.
After watching, we discuss our reactions to the video. Here are some questions I ask:
- How were humans acting just like the parents?
- How were the offspring learning how to be birds?
- Is this a job that looks interesting to you?
For the conclusion of today's lesson, I come back to the RI 1.2 standard that our shared reading was based upon. This standard asks for students to retell key details. I ask students to record at least one key detail of how cranes help their offspring in their Science Journals. I have also provided a response sheet you could use, or you can use plain old lined paper too! I think it's pretty hard to draw a crane accurately for first graders, so I also provide them with a photograph that they can glue into their journals. Early finishers can label the external parts on the crane photograph.
Because students will be completing similar writing responses in the next 3 lessons of this unit, I wanted to reflect with them on today's work. First, I set the criteria that the work should retell a detail from the text and label at least 3 body parts to be a check (in my county, this is called "p" progressing). If they have additional body parts or more than one detail, it is a check-plus (called "cd" in out county). If they do not meet the criteria, they receive an "n," for needs improvement.
This video clip is after I have modeled grading. Now, students evaluate each others' work. This type of reflection leads to better quality work and students holding themselves to a higher standard.
Here is some student work:
Student work #1 This student cites evidence that the offspring help themselves, "The baby cranes snuggle in the parents' feathers."
Student work #2 This student wrote, "I know that it has a long neck." Essentially, he wrote an observation of cranes but did not answer the question. This is the kind of response that I call over to my desk. Only through questioning and discussion with this student will I know if he did not understand the text or the question.