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This series of lessons teaches students how bird beaks and feet are adapted to their habitat/food needs to provide for their survival.  Students will study different bird beak and feet shapes and apply this learning by building a fictitious bird and writing about how this bird’s beak and feet will meet its needs to survive in a specific habitat.
Grades: 2nd, 4th

This lesson focuses on bird bills and feet as adaptations. How does the size or shape of a bird’s bill relate to the food it eats? How does the type of foot a bird has make it fit its environment?
Grades: 3rd-6th

Bird Talk

 

 

 

Students will learn to give and use effective feedback for learning and transformation by creating a drawing of a bird, joining a critique group and giving and receiving from each other feedback. They will revise their drawings up to four times, as decided by the critique group before determining it is finished.
Grades: 4th

This lesson, combining language arts and science, has students analyzing Cherokee folktales centered on the topic of birds. Students read, retell, and find examples of science and Cherokee culture within each folktale. Afterwards, the students will use flashcards to determine how and why some folktales may have come into existence.
Grades: 4th

Students will learn about recycling in their community and how they can reduce waste in their everyday lives.
Grades: 4th

Students will get the feel of what it means to concentrate and actively process information when they use a hand lens or 5X mag loupe to closely observe a feather. Following drawing and thinking by analogy, students will create some sort of written product to be determined by the student. 
Grades: 4th

Students will learn how to use and make a map of their citizen science eBird study area. Students will review descriptive animal movement words and directional words such as up, down, left, right, above, below, and next to. Students will make a map of their class’s bird study area and record the bird’s movement on the map.
Grades: K-2nd

One aspect of bird watching is being able to accurately assess a bird’s size and shape as part of the identification process.   This lesson provides a list of compiled statistics (weight, length and wingspan in metric and standard units) to be used to allow students to practice grade level math skills while becoming more familiar with local birds.  Teachers can customize this resource to fit a variety of curriculum needs.  Activities are suggested by appropriate math standard.  A whole number version of this chart is appropriate for third grade and a decimal version is provided as an option for fourth grade.
Grades: 3rd-4th

Sizing Up Birds

 

 

 

 

 

Students will set up stations and observe birds feeding. They will collect data, make claims with evidence with reasons. Students will then compose an opinion piece based upon their findings.
Grades: 4th

 

Which Food for Which Bird


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This lesson is an introduction to populations and how they change over time. Students will learn how humans can positively impact populations.
Grades: 4th

This lesson is an introduction to populations and how they change over time. Students will learn how humans can positively impact populations.
Grades: 4th

Students imagine they are working on a project to research animal behavior. As part of their research, they analyze National Geographic’s Wildcam videos and record their observations.
Grades: 4th

Students will learn how to use and make a map of their citizen science Project Squirrel study area. Students will review descriptive animal movement words and directional words such as up, down, left, right, above, below, and next to. Students will make a map of their class’s squirrel study area and record the squirrel’s movement on the map.
Grades K-2nd

Students will research how and where squirrels live.  
Grades: 3rd-7th

Squirrels can be found in nearly every habitat on Earth.  They are omnivores and eat almost any type of food.  During this activity, students will supply a variety of foods for squirrels.  They will predict which food(s) the squirrels will prefer then observe and check their hypothesis. Bonus: Present your information on your classes poster at The Mountain Science Expo!
Grades: K-2nd

Teacher will introduce the Project Squirrel activity, beginning with a read aloud of the humorous story, Those Darn Squirrels, by Adam Rubin. Students will gain an understanding of how squirrels affect the local ecosystem and ways students can contribute to the well-being of the community’s natural environment by providing squirrel population data to scientists.
Grades: 3rd

Those Darn Squirrels!


 


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Students will learn about the tree life cycle and be able to name and label tree anatomy and function.
Grades: K, 1st, 3rd, 5th

Decorating a special class tree for birds is a meaningful activity that will grant students a valuable interaction with wildlife. Students will prepare various treats for birds either at home or in the classroom, decorate the class tree with the edibles, and then note the resulting bird sightings. This activity can be completed anytime during the year or as an ongoing project, but it will be especially exciting when birds are foraging for food before a big snow.
Grades: K-5th

Students will learn about the inner layers of a tree’s trunk and their function for tree life and growth. Students will learn one way that foresters can age a tree and learn more about the environmental conditions the tree grew in.
Grades: 2nd, 3rd, 6th

Students will study flower anatomy and dissect a flower to see all of its working parts. Students will perform hand-on activities to learn about flower pollination and how plants and pollinators need each other to complete their life cycles.
Grades: 3rd

Teacher will help students connect human survival and needs (learned in K-2) with how trees survive and grow. Students will keep a journal to record the weather, season and condition of their tree of focus. At the end of the Citizens Science Project, teams will analyze their data and make conclusions about how environmental factors affected their tree. 
Grades: 3rd

This series of lessons teaches students the different attributes of leaf structures in trees and how to use the right science vocabulary to refer to these characteristics.   Students will become more proficient at identifying trees based on their leaf structure and will develop and practice important science processing skills:  observing, describing, classifying and diagramming their thinking. 
Grades: 3rd-5th

Once the teacher has assessed students prior knowledge of the life cycle of trees, students will watch a SlideShow presentation. Next, students will take an outside hike where they will look for examples of the different stages of the tree lifecycle. Students will create a PowerPoint (Google Slide) OR a foldable that names and explains each lifecycle stage.
Grades: 3rd

Students will gather leaves looking for differences in shape, color, size and texture. Students will complete various science experiments and activities to learn how leaves change color and how people can identify different trees by looking at their leaves.
Grades K, 1

Tree circumference is typically measured at 4 ½ feet above ground level.  Variations to this standard measurement apply if the tree forks, is leaning, is on a slope, or if other circumstances exist.  In this activity, students will use either standard and/or non-standard measurement to determine the circumference of trees being studied in the Phenology Project then compare their measurements.
Grades: K-2nd

This activity allows students to practice/review multiple math skills while learning about North Carolina trees.   These word problems are primarily multi-step, multi-skill problems which provide valuable practice for end of grade testing.   In addition, each question has a fun fact about N.C. trees as an engaging way for students to learn about tree structures and how people in North Carolina use them as a valuable natural resource.
Grades: 3rd-4th

Students will observe the tree of focus in their Citizen Science Project and through exploration and research, will identify the parts of a tree and their function. The teacher will read aloud “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein as a closing activity and connect what they’ve learned to the book.
Grades: 3rd

Students will learn about recycling in their community and how they can reduce waste in their everyday lives.
Grades: 1st-5th

Students will perform hand-on activities and experiments to learn about seed dispersal.
Grades: 3rd

For this activity, students will go on a nature walk and collect natural objects that fit different property descriptions. After the collection walk, students will share their findings and then sort their objects on a nature scavenger hunt page.
Grades: K

After observing their class tree and submitting data points to the Nature’s Notebook platform as a whole group activity, students will record a personal observation in their individual science notebooks. Students will write about their findings and draw an accurate illustration of something they personally noticed and found noteworthy.
Grades: K


Have a lesson plan to contribute? Your lesson plan could be featured on here! Download and fill out a lesson plan template and email it to projectexplore@ncarboretum.org.