Lesson Plan

Birds in Winter

Students learn how birds survive the season of winter.
Deb M.
Classroom teacher
Holly Hills Elementary School
Denver, United States
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My Grades K
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to...

1.  Name and describe three ways a bird survives winter:  migrate, hibernate, adapt

2.  Use the program Storyboard That to describe the above terms choosing appropriate settings, birds, and words.

3.  State the main idea and key details of a book with prompting and support (How Birds Adapt in Winter, written by Deb McMullen)  

4.  Organize the main idea and key details (How Birds Adapt for the Winter) with the use of Popplet and a Tree Map

5.  Ask questions and cooperatively create a science test to answer the question(s).

6.  Listen to two different videos pulling out the main idea and key details 

7.  Measure in nonstandard and standard units objects used for answering questions

English Language Arts
Grades K
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Singing Bush/Hook

1.  Share the personal experience of taking children to the bus and day after day hearing a bush (which stands next to the bus line) happy with song and chirps.  Let the children know that you had made a mental note, and the bush sang everyday for a week.  

2.  Take the children to the singing bush, and with class iPad snap pictures.  

3.  Allow children to discuss their findings and develop any questions about their findings.

4.  End the discussion and wonderment session by asking, "Will these particular birds be in the bush, or around, all winter?"  

Student Instructions

1.  Students make predictions/hypothesis about the singing bush.  What causes the bush to sing?

2.  What does the bush tell us about the season?  (no leaves, winter).

3.  Create a brainstorming session, throwing out any questions they may have about the bush, season, birds in the bush, etc.....  All wonders should be accepted.

4.  Students will record their initial thoughts to the question in a journal with words and drawings. 

2 How do ALL animals survive winter/Direct Instruction

In order to build background, teacher provides a book and videos to understand how all animals survive the winter months.  

A class tree-map is created to organize the "main idea" of the videos and the book and the "key details" of the videos and the book.

Book:  Animals in Winter   By:  Henrietta Bancroft and Richard Van Gelder (1963)

Student Instructions

Students discuss the similarities between the book and videos creating a class tree-map in order to organize the information we discovered.

3 Organizing and Applying our Learning/Guided and Independent

Free, Free to try, Paid

In order to organize their own thoughts, apply what information they learned about the main idea (animals surviving winter) and key detail (hibernation, migration, adaptation) students create a Storyboard That.  

This steps solidifies information they learn from many sources, and apply technology skills of using an app to support learning.

Student Instructions

Students are to choose appropriate settings (backgrounds) showing survival for their animals, correct animals with the correct settings, and insert a bubble stating that they understand the terms.  For example, hibernation could be a den, bear, and a speech bubble stating, "I go into a deep sleep." 

4 How do BIRDS survive in winter?/Guided

1.  Teacher reads information from the two websites in an developmentally appropriate fashion.

2.  Teacher opens up discussion for what the students heard and learned.  Reviewing vocabulary and getting students to act out words such as "tucking" and "fluffing."

3.  Teacher shares the documentary.  Asks what are the main idea and key details of the documentary.  Compare information to the read information.

Student Instructions

1.  While teacher is reading facts from the articles, students are gathering thoughts with pictures and labels.

2.  Students are actively involved in small group discussions about the main idea and key details of what the teacher has read.

3.  Students are actively involved in acting out vocabulary words.


5 How do BIRDS survive winter? /Independent

Activity: Presenting

1.  Teacher provides student time to again create a story board showing how birds survive winter.

This allows more opportunity to master the vocabulary words: hibernate, migrate, and adapt.

This allows mastery of the app. Storyboard That providing 21st Century Skills.

Student Instructions

1.  Students independently produce a Storyboard That product displaying correct background and characters which shows understanding or misunderstanding of three vocabulary words.

6 How do birds ADAPT for winter?/Guided

1.  Teacher wll present video and read articles in a developmentally appropriate summary to children.

2.  Teacher will provide paper for children to capture in drawings and labels the different ways the see and hear birds adapt their bodies and behaviors for winter.

Student Instructions

1.  Students will actively listen and watch readings and videos.

2.  Students will actively engage in discussions, both large group and think/pair/share to understand birds and ways they adapt.

3.  Students will actively draw and label pictures as they hear and see ways birds adapt to winter.

7 How do birds ADAPT in winter?/Independent

Free, Paid

1.  Teacher will introduce and guide students with the app, Popplet.

2.  Teacher will encourage students to think of a Thinking Map used to organize information (Tree Map).

3.  Teacher will instruct the camera and how to add photos to their Tree Map in Popplet

Student Instructions

1.  Students will use the app Popplet to create a tree map organizing the information from previous lesson, thus helping them understand.

2.  Students will add photos to each branch of their Tree Map.

8 Providing Food for Birds/Guided

1.  Teacher provides video demonstrating the construction of a pinecone bird feeder.

2.  Teacher and students create flow map demonstrating steps used to make bird feeder.  

3.  Teacher provides materials:  pinecones, peanut butter, string, birdseed. 

4.  Teacher recruits volunteers to support children in making bird feeders. 

Student Instructions

1.  Students actively engage and understand the process needed to make bird feeders.

2.  Students, volunteers, and teachers decide where to hang bird feeders.


9 Scientific Questioning and Process/Guided

Activity: Other — Questioning

1.  Teacher guides students into developing a testable question.  For example:  Will the birds eat from our feeders placed in the courtyard or the schoolyard?

2.  Teacher reviews the term:  hypothesis

3.  Teacher presents a graph where each student will post their hypothesis.

4.  Teacher guides students to check the feeders on a daily basis.

5.  Teacher guides students into their claim, evidence, and next steps.

Student Instructions

1.  Students hold a discussion about the testable question.

2.  Students determine their hypothesis with a reason as to why.

3.  Students post their hypothesis on a graph.

4.  Students determine the results of the test or experiment.

5.  Students determine their "Next Steps."

10 Developing Bird Habitat/Guided

Activity: Creating

1.  Teacher engages students in problem solving activity with the following question:  "What other materials should we provide our birds in the courtyard?"

2.  Teacher provides opportunity for students to decide which birdbath is best suited for the courtyard.

3.  Teacher guides students into measuring a variety of birdbath sizes using nonstandard measurement.

4.  Teacher purchases birdbath

5.  Teacher guides students into size of shelter (tree) to purchase.  Teacher guides students into type of tree to purchase.

Student Instructions

1.  Students brainstorm other items:  shelter, water

2.  Students determine best size birdbath to purchase based on size of courtyard and their nonstandard measurement activities.

3.  Students determine best type of tree and size of tree to add to their courtyard.

4.  Students engage in tree planting.

11 Ongoing Investigation, Exploration, and Assessing

Activity: Assessing

1.  Teacher provides opportunity for students to assess the success of their bird habitat.  Are birds visiting?  Are they eating?   Is the tree growing?  

2.  Teacher provides opportunity for next steps and next questions to arise.  

3.  Teacher provides a true-life learning experience for students.