At-home and at school learning resources from Learning for a Sustainable Future
Fall Week 7: Migrating Waterbirds
This week we focus on the Migrating Waterbirds during this time of the year! Did you know that there are about 11 different subspecies of the Canada Goose? Taxonomists have split what we once considered one species, the Canada Goose (Branta Canadensis), into two different species with the introduction of the Crackling Goose (B. hutchinsii). During this time of the year, we'll see the Crackling and other Canada Goose subspecies make their way south for the warmer temperatures. We have included a few amazing resources to help you get your students outside and learn more about bird migration and behaviour. As always, remember to practice outdoor learning in accordance with your local COVID-19 rules and guidelines!

Be sure to check out our Late October Step Outside Guide to read more about the Migrating Waterbirds and some of the other happenings in our ecosystem as we head into November!
Grades K-4
In Migration Challenge, students role-play migrating birds with three outdoor games. Students will model a flock of migrating birds, identify and communicate the advantages and disadvantages of travelling in groups and cities, and discuss solutions for reducing migration hazards.  

  • Get outside and play the Migration Challenge games to learn more about geese behaviour while having fun.
  • Two more outdoor activities Flying to Survive - The Migration Cycle or Globetrotters: A Lesson on Bird Migration, teach students about natural habitats and the many dangers and threats faced by birds along their migration routes.
  • The Animal Migration Activity Guide encourages students to use STEM skills to explore the migration topic, whether they are using math to plot the coordinates of monarch migration paths, engineering to design their birdfeeder, science to understand the phenomenon of animal migration, or technology to get involved with online citizen science. 
  • Play Bird Migration Hopscotch and have students pretend they are flying from their summer habitat in Canada to their winter habitat in Mexico along their annual migration route.
  • Use this Venn diagram activity to learn the basics of animal classification by exploring the characteristics of birds, mammals, and reptiles in What is a Bird?
  • Lead a Bird Walk with your students and discover the birds that live in your area.
  • Create a migration of birds along a hallway where students can write a bird conservation action they will commit to on a bird cut-out.
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Grades K-6
Nature Companion is a free app and website that provides students with interesting and easy-to-understand information about plants, trees, birds, animals, insects, reptiles, and amphibians found in Canada's four western provinces. Each short description includes colourful photographs and a did you know? section with fun facts about each species. Scroll through the colourful pictures and brief descriptions to find out more about nature in your schoolyard or community. The tool is available on or offline and is a great way to connect kids with nature.

  • Get outside and use the Nature Companion app to identify plants, birds, spiders, insects or trees in the schoolyard.
  • Play Who am I? Using only yes/no questions, students determine the identity of the plant or animal picture they are wearing on their back. They can then learn more about their plant or animal using the Nature Companion app.
  • Try Nature2Go: Camouflage (p.27); this game is best played in long grass or areas with trees where there are many places to hide nearby.
  • Younger students can Stay Connected to Nature with the Hide and Seek activity to learn how living things are using camouflage to blend into their environment.
  • Older students can learn what habitats/ecosystems are in their area that support living things with Nature2Go: Geography (p.31) activity.
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Grades K-8
The mysteries of bird migration come to life in this activity that takes your class outside to model North American bird species' movement between their habitat and nesting grounds. As students "fly" along migration pathways, they gain a sense of the length of these journeys and the vital role of stopover habitats to sustain birds until they reach their destination. This resource fosters curiosity and wonders about the natural world as students learn how animals' seasonal movements are related to environmental changes.

  • Have students calculate the distance travelled by the species they have selected and make a list of the places it travelled. 
  • Compare the distances of different species' migration routes, create charts and graphs, or to scale outside, using string and tape measures.
  • Have students demonstrate their species' migration route to the class. Students may create props or geographic landmarks to symbolize what their species might encounter on their migration.
  • Discuss and investigate how disruptions along a migratory route could affect the survival of the species.
  • Try this Canadian Geese Art Project using a mixed media approach. Younger students can colour the Canadian Goose.
  • Have younger students cut out tracks of migrating species. These can be taped to the floor or outdoors. Have small groups of students follow the trail of one or more species, performing tasks that their species might need to do along the way, for example catching fish using a play fishing set. 
  • Watch this Canada Geese video to learn more about this migratory bird.
  • The Bird Migration Game brings home the concept of how far and how arduous this annual migration is for birds. It is a role-play activity where students are specific bird species that must leave their breeding ground, get to their wintering ground and return. Instructions for Bird Migration game.
  • Play Audubon's Mission Migration Game and help your flock migrate safely by learning how choices you make every day around your home, school, and neighbourhood can affect the fate of these migrating birds—in both positive and negative ways.
  • Complete the Birds Migration Mural with your students.
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This resource helps determine the migratory path for a bird species and investigate whether the habitats in its summer and winter location are similar or different. Based on this information, students will recommend which locations should be conserved to protect this species.

  • Download real bird migration and temperature data to analyze the birds' habitats to determine which lands we need to conserve to protect the species.
  • Look at the migration route in Google Earth Pro and analyze the birds' habitats to determine which lands need to be conserved to protect the species.
  • Test your knowledge of migratory birds with the World Migratory Bird Day Quiz.
  • Students use a GPS unit to find a geocache site and the hidden nature activity cache in this high tech treasure hunt entitled Go Birding Geocache. If you don't have a GPS, download an application to your phone, iPad, or other device. Older students organize this treasure hunt to connect with younger students while learning about birds and their habitats.
What did you think of Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Saving Migratory Animals?
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About Learning Inside Out

Above you will find a selection of activities, broken down by various grade levels. These guides will be released weekly and archived on our Learning Inside Out page, so you can always access the full catalogue.

All activities have been modified from resources on our R4R database, simplified and adapted for both outdoor learning in the school yard or at-home as needed. The activity descriptions below should contain all the information and links that you need!

If you'd like to view the full original resource on R4R, including curriculum connections for every province/territory, click the activity title.

We want this guide to work for you, so your feedback is invaluable to us.
Use the feedback button at the bottom of this Guide, or email us at We would also love to see photos of students engaging in the activities, please e-mail us any pictures or videos you have!
Let us know how this helped your learning and teaching from home or at school indoors and (hopefully) outdoors and what you'd like to see more of by filling out our brief feedback form!
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Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF) is a Canadian charity with over 25 years of experience working within the education system. Our Resources for Rethinking (R4R) database is an award-winning collection of resources that are peer-reviewed by certified teachers and connected to curriculum in all provinces and territories. R4R is recommended on many Ministry of Education websites.
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