At-home and at school learning resources from Learning for a Sustainable Future
Week 29: Bird Alert
This week's LIO is all about Birds! The Mid-April Step Outside nature guide talks about all things Bird Alert. Learn about birds like the Song Sparrows, who start marking their territories by beginning to "sing". Male Sparrows can average 8-12 melodies that help other birds recognize each other and identify whether or not this area has already been marked! 

The activities below help students learn more about birds, other animals and plants, invasive species, and much more! Step outside with your students today and see what nature is up to!
In this story, the students wonder why hummingbirds have stopped visiting their school. They learn about the needs of the hummingbirds, the seasonal changes where they live, and the environment where the hummingbirds spend the winter. Through learning activities, students describe the seasonal changes in a local habitat, observe how colors in nature change through the seasons, and research hummingbirds.

Activities
  • Read the storybook The Mystery of the Hummingbirds
  • Complete the KWL chart to help organize what you know or want to learn about hummingbirds. Research any questions you may have about hummingbirds
  • Create a scientific model of a Ruby Throated Hummingbird. Have students include labels on their hummingbird to indicate specific details including size, colouring. Use the templates on page 7 for inspiration or create a 3D model using any craft materials you have lying around
  • Come back to your KWL chart and work together to fill in the final section of the chart: What did we learn about hummingbirds
  • Write down hummingbird facts (p.8) on separate little strips of paper. Using the hummingbird facts organize a game of charades. With a partner alternate taking turns picking strips that have facts on them and acting them out. See how many facts your partner(s) can successfully guess from your silent acting
  • Older students can create a Venn diagram comparing Ruby Throated Hummingbirds to another type of hummingbird or an entirely different bird
  • Get creative with your students and build a bird feeder using recycled materials
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Grades 3-8
Get to know the feathered friends in your neighbourhood with Get to Know: Birds! Learn how to observe birds' appearance and behaviours, and practice spotting signs of bird activity in your neighbourhood, whether it's out in nature, on your street, in your yard, or from your window.


Activities
  • Prepare yourself with background knowledge and learn some observation techniques with these information pages. If required, support students as they work through these sheets prior to the observation period. Alternative websites for information about birds: National Audubon SocietyIdentifying Birds
  • Get outside and have students find a quiet spot to observe or sketch birds. Have them record their observations on the Bird sights and sounds observation sheet
  • Try the Fill the Bill activity, students learn about bird feeding adaptations by using a variety of tools to simulate eating different foods
  • Create a local bird identification guide with older students. Set aside class time for your class to go outdoors in the school neighbourhood to identify local birds. Use the Internet, student drawings, student photos to compile images, then add descriptions of where these species can be found
  • Use this Bird Sleuth Explorer’s Guidebook to guide your students through habitat observation, bird identification and citizen science. Look for signs of bird activity such as bird tracks, abandon bird nests, holes made in trees or feathers on the ground
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This outdoor activity has students explore how changes in their community are impacting bird habitats. Students walk through their community to identify the recent changes that have taken place. Based on their observations, students determine if the changes have improved the bird habitats or destroyed their environment. Students suggest ideas to improve disturbed habitats and create a plan for action.

Activities
  • Have students brainstorm a list of human and natural activities that can interfere with healthy habitats and cause problems for birds. Get outside and take a walk around the community to identify what human activities can improve, disrupt or destroy the habitat of birds
  • Explore the impact of habitat loss and fragmentation on bird migration and with Fly Away Home
  • Once students have gathered enough data on the development(s) they are studying, ask them to create a list of recommendations that could improve conditions for birds at the site. 
  • Canada geese are considered a nuisance in many communities. Read this guide to learn best practices for living with Canada Geese. Design a plan to reduce the nuisance to an acceptable level. Your solutions need to address the specific conflicts and the sites and not the geese
  • Get organized and plan to participate in the Schoolyard Bird Blitz during the month of May
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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 above 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 info@LSF-LST.ca. 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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