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Bird Watching: A Middle School Biology Lesson

Updated on February 2, 2019
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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 8.

Middle School Biology Lesson on Bird Watching
Middle School Biology Lesson on Bird Watching

This is the 18th lesson in a series of 30 hands-on Christian lessons covering middle school biology. This lesson focuses on bird features. Test beak types, examine nests and eggs, play Bird Field Guide 20 Questions, & more. I used this plan while teaching a 55 minute middle school biology class. Each lesson plan includes homework assignments and a variety of hands-on activities to make each lesson engaging & memorable. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, homeschool, after-school program, or co-op!

These lessons are written for a class that meets once a week. If your class meets 5 days a week, simply do this lesson one day a week and use the homework assignments (at the bottom of the page) for the work for the other days of the week.

Homework Review

1. Hand out extra credit tickets to anyone who did the extra credit.

  • Quickly go over the homework questions. (I give out tickets for students who answer the questions.)
  • Collect Weird Bird Reports.

Showing the anatomy of a bird
Showing the anatomy of a bird

Birding Expert Guest Speaker & Alternative Options

For today's class we invited a local bird watching guide to speak to our class about the amazing design of birds and how to get started with bird watching.

If this isn't an option, you could just do what he did with our class, which I listed below. Alternately, you could ask someone else to speak to your class such as a pet store owner, someone who works with birds through a wild animal rescue, or someone who has a pet birds and loves sharing about them. One year we had the wife of hunter come to our class. She brought various mounted birds and discussed how her husband and sons hunt them and what they do afterward. The students loved hearing their turkey caller and attempting to make duck and turkey sounds.

If allowed, you could instead take a field trip to a local zoo, pet store, nature-type area for bird watching, or chicken farm.

Showing bird head skeletons to compare beaks along with owl pellets
Showing bird head skeletons to compare beaks along with owl pellets

Bird Watching Expert

2. Our guest speaker was someone who has led numerous bird-watching expeditions. I told him that the students love getting to see objects. This is what he did:

a. Go over the basic anatomy of a bird and a few neat facts about some of the birds in our area. He included lots of silly bird jokes and asked lots of questions, like a trivia game.

b. Discuss how to get started with bird watching.

  • Show field guides and discuss how they differ and which is easiest to use.
  • Discuss bird songs. Play some. Have the students try to identify the bird.
  • Discuss field marks and what you should notice on a bird.
  • Talk about how to learn the birds you see in your yard.
  • Discuss what you can bring while looking for birds.

c. Pass around various bird-related items such as bird head skeletons (to compare beaks) and owl pellets from different owls.

d. Ask students about their experiences with birds and answer any questions.

Comparing the beaks on bird skeletons
Comparing the beaks on bird skeletons
A Beka's Science: Order & Design science textbook
A Beka's Science: Order & Design science textbook

Homework

Page numbers refer to the pages in A Beka's Science: Order & Design.

Looking for all my lessons?

(I'll be posting a new lesson each week.)

© 2019 Shannon

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