What do birds need in order to survive?

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SWBAT identify the four basic elements that birds need in order to survive.

Big Idea

Birds need four basic elements to survive: water, cover (shelter), food, and space.

Setting the Stage

National Science Education Standards

The lesson focuses on how and what organisms need to survive in their environment, and how the environment supports organisms. Second grade students are learning how animals and plants live in a particular habitat which provides it with cover (shelter), food, space, and water. This lesson is important because they learn what birds need in their habitat in order to survive.

This lesson prepares the students for a future lesson "Bird Creation". The students use the engineering design process to create birdhouses/bird feeders.

Science and Engineering Practices in NGSS

This lesson addresses SP 8: obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.  Students obtain information so they can communicate their findings, through writing, about what birds need to survive. This lesson is important because students are permitted to create visual representations to express themselves as well as compose statements to answer questions. As students gain scientific knowledge, it is imperative that they have the opportunity to apply their knowledge through writing.

Background Knowledge:

Students understand that organisms have basic needs. Animals need food, air, and water: They also know that plants need air, water, nutrients, and light. They are learning that organisms need to live in a particular environment to meet their needs.



Birds Habitat PowerPoint

Writing Template


10 minutes

At the students' desks, they are asked- what do birds need in order to survive? This question helps lead into our lesson on bird habitat's.

They observe a Bird Habitats PowerPoint. The students observe the PowerPoint to learn what birds need to survive and this helps my visual learners to be more engaged.

Then I pose the following questions: What do birds need to survive? The student response should be that birds need food, water, space, and covering (shelter).  Why do birds need food, water, space, and covering? The student response should be that birds need food, water, space, and covering (shelter) to meet their basic needs or survive. Do all birds need the same habitat? The student response should be that all birds do not need the same habitat to survive. It depends on the type of bird.


Writing in Science

25 minutes

With students at their desks,  they are provided with a writing template. They are instructed to draw a habitat for a robin and write about what they drew in their habitat and why. I permit students to draw so they can have the opportunity to be creative and build confidence. Then the students are asked to write so they can answer a question using complete sentences to demonstrate their knowledge about how a bird survives.

In this student work, the student understands what a bird needs in its habitat. Also, the student comprehends that a bird's home needs to be high, so predators cannot eat the bird. This student knows that predators are animals that eat prey.


10 minutes

Students share their assignment with a partner. This encourages students to have a scholarly, content driven conversation with their peers. This also gives all students a chance to share their work. 

Once everyone has had an opportunity to share, I collect the assignment from the students so I can analyze their work. In observing the assignment, I want to make sure that students drew and wrote about the 4 essential components that birds need. Students should have written in complete sentences and use correct punctuation marks.

This lesson will be beneficial for the next lesson, "Bird Creation" because the students learned the birds basic needs.