Awesome Bird Traits

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Identify and observe bird traits, particularly the form and function of feathers, by examining and investigating contour and down feathers

Big Idea

Animals have characteristics that help them survive because they have different inherited information.


1 minutes

Warm up

5 minutes

I like to start my lesson on birds by brainstorming. By letting my students brainstorm in small groups and then share out to the whole group, they are more apt to share even if they are on the shy side. Birds is a topic that many of my students are familiar with because they are so unique to the animal world and they have seen them. However, we will focus on bird traits such as their different colored eggs and the function of  feathers. Using a powerpoint along with bringing real bird feathers to examine helps my students better understand the content.

Guided practice

15 minutes

Using the powerpoint for this lesson is essential to conveying the content and the academic vocabulary needed. My students also use a modified Frayer Model graphic organizer for all new vocabulary, this help them use the vocabulary more readily as well as draw a picture representation. The powerpoint also allows me to touch upon diverse learning styles while helping us stay focused and complete the lesson and meeting the objective. My students look forward to the visuals, and with the use of the interactive whiteboard I can add notes and point out specific areas depending on my group.



20 minutes

I wanted my students to understand the parts of a feather. I felt that just showing pictures through the PowerPoint,  though a wonderful resource, would not be enough. I purchased bird feathers at the craft store and we used that for our observations. I did not explain to the students the parts of the feather before they completed the focus page, I wanted them to read the description and then label it on their drawing, here is a student using illustrations to help understand the concept.  This raised the rigor, in that they did not just copy from a page, they had to really discover the parts on their own here they are examining a contour feather, and then examining a down feather. In order for them to check their work, we reviewed the parts of a feather as a whole class activity,as guided practice. Some had a difficult time seeing that the shaft is hollow, for that reason, I had them cut the shaft. This made it easier to see that it is hollow.  Then then drew and labeled their observations on the Contour & Down Feather Observation. I also used a  points to explore page to help them focus their thinking on the feather function while in groups.

Class Discussion/Wrap up

10 minutes

At the end of this lesson we did a turn and talk. I set the timer for 1 minute and each student,in turn,  I use it as a type of Exit Ticket, in that I can informally assess how the lesson went. I want to see that the key points are mentioned along with the use of academic vocabulary. During this lesson, the question was a "what if"  Exit Ticket Awesome Bird Traits.pdf. The purpose of just giving the one question is to assess whether the students understood one or all of concepts that were taught, in this case, the reasoning behind why the down feathers are under the contour. Here are some videos of students explaining their thinking after the exit ticket was completed.Student 1 explaining answer on Exit ticket Student 2 explaining answer on exit ticketStudent 3 explaining answer on exit ticket.