Birds Help Their Young Survive (Puffins)
Lesson 13 of 16
Objective: SWBAT determine patterns in puffins' behavior that help their offspring survive.
In this series of lessons, I introduce different species of birds. We watch how the parents care for their offspring and help them survive, which helps students master NGSS standard 1-LS1-2. 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 puffins. 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 that talks about how puffins care for their offspring as we watch a young puffin make its way to the sea. This video reinforces the details found in the article, and also let's us get a sense of the habitat and sounds of puffins.
Throughout this unit, we have recorded our observations and understandings on a KLEWS chart, which is a science-specific type of KWL. I refer students to our current guiding question.
We are asking the question, "How do parent birds take care of their young, or offspring?" Yesterday, we learned ways that cranes take care of their young. Wasn't it adorable when the baby crane snuggled in its parent's feathers? Aww. We recorded some key details about cranes here on our Comparison Chart. Let's review what we learned.
Next, I uncover the second bird on the chart, puffins. I ask students for any schema they have about puffins. We live near the Baltimore Aquarium, and it is possible that some students have seen the Atlantic puffins there. For many students, though, puffins may be a new species to them. Many think that puffins are a kind of penguin, so I quickly fix this misconception. I assure them that we will learn more today and soon be scientific experts on puffins.
Next, together we will read an article about puffins in National Geographic Young Explorer. 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. First, I set the purpose for reading:
We will be reading about a kind of bird called the puffin. 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, puffins. 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 facilitate a shared reading of the text, pausing to note key details on our graphic organizer. For example, we learn that yes, puffins build nests. I put a check mark in the nest row. Then, we add to the WOW section that the nest is on the ground and not in a tree. I also ask for students to compare the adult and baby (puffling, or chick). How are they the same and how are they different? This moves students towards NGSS standard 1-LS3-1.
Next, I point out that we do not yet have a check for "protect their young." I set the purpose for watching the video clip as explicitly listening for this element.
We watch a video clip that really helps put students right into the habitat of puffins. This video reinforces the key details from the article, and also shows puffin nests in rocky cliffs. We watch puffin behaviors, like beak-rubbing (kissing), and also see a baby puffin make its way to the ocean.
After watching, we can update or add any new information or WOW facts to the Comparison Chart. Here is our comparison Chart after the puffins lesson.
Video clips are such an incredible way to enhance instruction if they are thoughtfully chosen and relevant to the standards. In the past, science instruction was, "read this book and gain the content." Now, with the NGSS leaning on students to make their own observations, video clips are a way to have students observe phenomena that are not literally outside of their window. I culled through videos on puffins to find one that was age-appropriate, included the content I was looking for (in this case, caring for chicks), and also some cool new information. I know that I learn a ton from videos, and students have the same need-- they need to learn how to gather information from a source other than books.
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 puffins 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! At the bottom, I provided a picture of both a puffin and puffling (baby puffin). I am going to print these worksheets in color, and I am also going to display the pictures on my Whiteboard. Students will compare the photos and state one way the parent and baby are similar, and one way they are different.
Here is some student work: