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Fantastic Feathers


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Keywords: life science, function, structure, elementary
Subject(s): Life Science, Science
Grade P-K
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: PS 203 Oakland Gardens, Oakland Gdns, NY
Planned By: Bernadette Gloster
Original Author: Bernadette Gloster, Oakland Gdns
Science Lesson Plan: Explore body structures of birds with special emphasis on feathers.

Students Learn: Students will be able to identify several body structures of a bird. Students will differentiate between a flight feather and a down feather. Using a hand lens, students will observe, then diagram a flight feather and/or a down feather.

Grade: K-2

Time: 50 minutes

Curriculum Relevance: Next Generation Science Standard Life Sciences, LS1.A: Structure and Function ▪ All organisms have external parts. Different animals use their body parts in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, find, and take in food, water and air. (1-LS1-1)

Preparation: Obtain flight and down feathers ahead of time. Construct vocabulary cards to include the words: barb, molt, unique and shaft. Practice navigating the Bird Academy web site before conducting lesson:
https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/

Materials Used: Student will receive a hand lens, paper, pencils and a two clean bird’s feathers (a flight feather and a down feather). Digital devices are also needed to access Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bird Academy.


Motivation: Teacher says: “Today you will view some birds in action on video and observe a real bird structure up close.” Teacher accesses the Bird Academy from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Have class observe several short clips of birds singing and moving: https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/features/birdsong/songbirds-in-action
Be sure to choose some birds common to your area.

Teacher- Led Procedure:
1. Using images of real birds from Cornell Lab’s Bird Academy; have students name body structure that birds have (wings, feathers, beak, two legs, etc.) while teacher lists them on chart paper. Special focus will be given to feathers; which are unique body structure found only on birds. Teacher says “Birds are the only animals that have feathers. Feathers are unique to birds.” Read and display the “unique” vocabulary card.

2. Utilizing Bird Academy “Bird Anatomy” and “Feathers” students will see that a bird has different types of feathers. Teacher can hold up a flight feather and down feather to highlight the differences of these two feathers. Show students where on a bird’s body these feathers would be found. Optional: you may utilize the Bird Academy’s Anatomy-Feather for this; https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/features/birdanatomy/.

3. Explainthe function of each feather type; down feathers keep bird warm and flight feather help it to fly. Inform students that old worn-out feathers molt while new feathers grow in. Read and display the “molt” vocabulary card. Teacher will point out the feather’s shaft and barbs; comparing the shaft to a tree’s trunk and the many barbs as branches. Show class the “barb” and “shaft” vocabulary cards. Take out a hand lens and tell the class that they will be able to see much more detail of the feathers when magnified. Utilize Bird Academy’s “How Feathers are Built” to highlight different examples of feathers: https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/features/all-about-feathers/#how-feathers-are-built.php.The “zoom in” option is very helpful giving the students a preview of what they might see with their hand lens.


Student Engagement/ Culminating Activity:

1. Distribute materials.
2. Working with partners, students will now carefully observe two real bird feathers (a flight feather and a down feather) using a hand lens. Note: Teacher may have to instruct class how to use hand lens if the students have not used this tool before. Allow several minutes to observe feather, then, prompt students to begin to diagram one or both of their feathers. Encourage students to label their diagram to best of their abilities; using the words shaft and barbs. Teacher can model how to diagram and label on the classroom board or chart paper.
3. Students at this time can be encouraged to discuss their observations with their partner.
4. Teacher will circulate around the room assisting students and listening to student discussions.

Rigor: Challenging vocabulary words, such as molt and unique, will be used in this lesson. Students will be asked to properly use a science tool (the hand lens) and are challenged to accurately diagram a feather.

Differentiation/Multiple Entry Points: Differential instruction will occur through questioning at different Bloom Levels such as: Low Level Questioning: What part of a bird’s body is special only to birds? (Bloom’s Level I: Remembering) High Level Questioning: What type of feather would be used inside a blanket to help keep you warm? (Bloom’s Level V: Evaluating).

Formative Assessment: Teacher will observe and make note of students’ science skills in action; such as following directions and using the hand-lens appropriately. Diagrams will be collected and evaluated on accuracy. Teacher will also key into student-to-student discussion as well as students comments from teacher-led discussions.

Comments
If chromebooks are obtained they would be utilized and incorporated into many of our school lessons throughout the school year!
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Structure and Function: The way an object is shaped or structured determines many of its properties and functions.
Follow-Up
Student (and parents) can further explore the wonder Cornell Lab's BIRD ACADEMY for many other enriching activities.
Materials: Electronics
Other Items: 18 Covers for Chromebooks, $40 each, total of $720.00
18 Chromebooks, $200 each, total of $3600.00