I settled students down on the floor in front of the SB. I am such a fan of mynah birds and wanted students to see their amazing ability to imitate their masters. This one is especially sweet. After the video we talked about specialized abilities that help this bird to imitate, understanding that it often serves as protection in the wild to fool other predators. We talked about learned behaviors vs. inborn behaviors. We also talked about our pets and distinguished what was a learned behavior vs. inborn.
Another video that can be substituted that has good examples of how parrots imitate, as well as being able to watch how she eats her peanuts. It is a TED talk featuring Einstein. She is from the Knoxville Zoo,quite the comedian and a "superstar!" The message on the end about conservation is beautiful. Either video are great resources for discussion, engagement and focus on the standard.
I asked students to get into their table groups and retrieve all of their notes from yesterday's lesson along with getting their constructed "Crazy Bird." We reviewed the questions on the board from our collaborative discussions yesterday. But, I pointed to each one of them as we read them together.
How do each of the body parts work so that your bird will survive?
Explain each part of the bird carefully.
Where does your bird live? What does it eat? What kind of eggs does it lay?
I told them that they needed to look at their notes from their discussion yesterday, look carefully at their bird and look at the notes from their research from Day1. Using everything they knew and wanted to say about their bird, they needed to write a script that would cover all of the questions above. This script was to be followed when they were ready to present.
Students worked collaboratively to design a plan. They simply stated what they wanted to say about their bird and designed it how they wanted it to be designed. We did not use technology for this presentation because we needed to practice group speaking. I wanted them to think and talk together during their presentation and all had to say something. This helped students who are shy about public speaking feel supported.
Within 20 minutes, because of the time we spent yesterday problem solving and discussing the issues with our goofy birds, the plans were done and they began practicing their speeches. I gave them a good 10 minutes to practice how they would present. This was ample time. Soon it was time to present!
This would be a formative assessment that would transfer into a written project later on.
Students took their turns presenting their birds by introducing their names. While I had hoped they would get more creative with their presentations, most chose to present by simply reading from a script. This continued through all five groups as they presented their Crazy Bird. At times, I had to stop and coach them because they hadn't quite mastered the goal of the lesson: to connect the idea of specialized parts to survival. A few groups made up information that wasn't evident in the picture. I helped them to discover what needs to be considered during the presentation, even though I coached them during their planning. It was rigorous for many! All were making a good effort of showing understanding about specific external body parts as far as saying the right things about the right kind of beak, feet, and body. When I coached one group, they could talk about why their bird won't survive very long because of the imbalance of body parts. This showed understanding of how the external parts work (or don't work) together. Their bird was a mess! It was cute. But it was a biological mess. In inquiry based science, I reminded them that it was alright. The most important point was that they recognized it as a problem. This is the way the birds turned out and we needed to problem solve to find the way to make it survive by creating an environment that was most successful.
After all were finished, we closed with some comments about how hard this project was for them. Some felt they needed more time and some thought that just having a bird with parts that didn't work very well made it really hard.
"I stretched your minds and your knowledge. You have worked hard! This can always be more successful, but do you understand how birds, if not all living things have specialized structures that help them survive and live on?"
They were happy with that and said that they got that very well. I saw a lot of heads nodding up and down. Whew! Standard mastered!