These words will be introduced and used in the context of the activity and discussion only:
(data, envirnoment, graphing, habitiat, migration )
1). First, we will arrange students into cooperative groups of five students each. If there is an odd number of students, we may have to use some smaller or larger groups but, we will try to keep the total numbers as close to five as possible.
2). Second, we will introduce the idea of bird study and identification to the class. Using the information of birds posted on the world wide web:
We will try tapping the students prior knowledge by asking questions and encouraging deductions and theories to arrive at answers to the questions they do not know. And finally, encouraging all groups and students to answer or theorize about at least one concept or adaptation.
An alternative could be to give each student group a task, or question, such
as why do birds have feathers? and then have them search for the answers in
reference materials, fieldstrips,videos or on CD ROMS. A list of traditional book references is
available online, or have the students search the web for information. However, this
method can take considerable class time to achieve the desired objective. If
such time is unavailable, this method may not be appropriate.
3). Introduce the use and purpose of field guides to students by passing some around the room
and asking what reasons might exist to make such a book. Some of their answers might include:
there are too many types of animals (in this case birds) for one person to know by memory, to
help new and experienced birders identify species they have not seen before, and to show
beginning birders what to look for when identifying bird species. If students do not know what
a species is, we will take some time to try and explain this concept to them.( A popular
illustrative technique compares the scientific naming system to the student's name and
The four main birds in this study are mourning doves, red-winged blackbirds,
goldfinches, and house sparrows. The "field guide" also contains pictures of
a blue jay, robin, cardinal, and black-capped chickadee. These birds may be
seen by the students while on the study, and are included in the guide
because of this fact. However, they will be classified into a category
labeled "other" for data collection purposes. The birds in this study are
listed by common name, genus and species in their "field guide" entries.
Birds in this study all belong to the Kingdom Animalia (Animals), Phylum
Chordata (Has a backbone), and Class Aves (Birds). The mourning dove belongs
to the Order Columbiformes and the family Columbidae which includes the
pigeons and doves. The rest share the order passeriformes or perching birds,
although they belong to different families. Either Petersons or Audubon's
field guide to Eastern birds should list the families as well as genus and
species for all the birds they may encounter.
4) If time permits, students may want to print out a copy of the "field guide"
to color in. In the case of the goldfinch and red-winged blackbird, we may
want them to print out two copies of the bird to color a male bird and a
female bird, as the two sexes look different. Pass out copies of a published
field guide or let the groups sit by a computer with the color pictures on
it. When coloring each bird, discuss what makes each bird identifiable as
that type of bird. Is color a good way to pick out different types of birds?
Patterns of color? Shape? . Why might it be advantageous for the female to be colored differently? What could be helpful about being "duller" than the males? (Camouflage) Why are the males so brightly colored? (To attract mates, etc.) We will spend time to insure that students know what each of the four species to be studied looks like.
We may also want to include extra blank sheets for students to add drawings of unknown birds into their field guides.
We may have students pay attention to"key" traits to help identify birds including the size of the bird, the color of its legs, its beak, body, shape, whether it has marks on its wings and the length of its tail. We will be sure to encourage them to look them up in a published field guide for identification when they get back to the classrooom.
For the study itself, it might be helpful to have the group divide up the
birds such that one member does research on each type of bird and the fifth
member does research on the other common birds they might see. We may want
to limit the student assigned to the "other" birds to a less in depth report
on the individuals so that work loads are approximately equal. Each group
member reports what he or she has discovered to their peers. This could also
divide the students in the group so that one person is counting only the
goldfinches, one counts only the mourning doves, one counts all the "other"
birds, and so on until all the possibilities are taken care of. If time is
short, we may wish to conduct this lesson with the published field guides
or Setting Up A Path
1. Students will be arranged into cooperative groups of five students each.
2. Introduce the idea of environmental data collection to class. Tap
student prior knowledge. Pose the following questions, giving students time
to respond in their journals.
How does data collection help scientists study the envirnoment?
Data collection allows scientists to determine the current condition of the environment?
What information do scientists learn about the environment when data is compared and analyzed over time?
Scientists learn how the environment is changing and what factors may be causing these
changes. Scientists might not always discover what is causing a change in
the environment but they may find how plants and animals are adapting to
3. Ask the class to imagine they are conducting a scientific study of their
local environment. Have them consider the local environment. Pose the
following questions, giving students time to respond in their journals. What
is your local environment comprised of? What types of data would you collect
to help in studying the local environment? How do you determine what to
collect and where to collect it? Do you collect data from everywhere? How do
scientists collect data for scientific investigation? Accept all answers.
Scientists use the concept of sampling, collecting specific data from a
small area that represents the larger system. They use data collected from
sampling areas to make inferences or generalization about the larger system.
Scientists sometimes ask other scientists or experts for help. Who would you
go to for help in learning about your area or for advice in conducting your
study? Possible sources of aid include the Chicago Academy of Sciences,
Illinois Department of Conservation (DNR), forest preserve managers,
and land managers.
4. Establish a bird data collection activity.
The following points provide the rationale and processes necessary for designing
our activity. Have the class consider and discuss each point.
* Determine a path . In order to best examine our corner
of the world, the class should establish the path in an area near our
school that best represents our local environment. If our school building
is surrounded by streets and buildings these should be represented in our
path. Ask the class if it is important to maintain the same sampling area
every time data is collected. Will changing the sampling area change the
type and amount of data they collect? Can data collected from different
sampling sites be compared over time? Does varying the type of data you
collect affect the study in any way? Can different types of data be compared
To enable different schools across the state to use your data and compare it
to theirs, our path length in this experiment will be 200 meters long. Ask
students why everyone must have the same length for their path for
their data to be comparable. What would happen if one school used a 100
meter path and another a 50 meter path? How might this effect the data each
* Establishing a regular schedule for data collection. This step is crucial.
Selecting a time and frequency that fits into our own class' schedule. As this
project covers changes over time, we will try to schedule a data collection period
once every two weeks to do this experiment. Ask the class to determine if
maintaining a regular schedule is important to scientific research. Does
varying the time of day that you collect data affect the information that
you will collect? Does varying the frequency of data collection affect the
study? Can data collected at random times or intervals be compared
accurately over time? Explain that once the schedule is developed, it is
important to maintain throughout the project so that the data can be
compared. Ideally, the duration of this experiment should be from October
through November or longer.
In order to set an accurate description of habitat, we will establish roles for each group member during initial survey:
For example, one person toserve as official recorder, two persons to serve as botanists (responsible for collecting plant data), and two persons to serve as biologists
(responsible for collecting animal data). These roles will change for the
actual data collection periods, where each student will then be counting a specific type of bird.
5. Have students find their path on the topographic map. Where is it situated
in relation to our school? our students' homes? What types of land
use/land cover are located near your plot? Houses? A forest? A river?
6. Go outside. Have each group walk the path prior to collecting data.
Students should use the blank paper, pencils, and clipboards to sketch the
path and the physical features that surround it. Also have students note the
ways land surrounding the path is used. Is the area built-up, natural, or
somewhere in between? Have each group use field guides to identify and list
the major plant and bird species found in your sampling site. In this
initial walk, assign one person to mark off 20 meter
intervals on the path, so we can save time when sampling is taking place.
7. Return to the classroom. As a class, consider the information we have
collected and use it to arrive at a description of the habitat we are
sampling in. Also, use the list of birds you've seen to identify the common
birds seen in the "other" category so that all the students know what these
look like. If there is an "other" species that is prevalent in the area, we
might want to make another category on your class' personal data sheets for
it. This could be especially helpful if there are few birds of the species
that are designated in our area.
8. Have each group use the complete list add any "extras" from #7 to your
data sheets. As a class, analyze the pros and cons of each group's data
sheet. Compare each sheet and use portions of each group's sheet to develop
a standard class data collection sheet for groups to use throughout the
project. This sheet should include space for recording the date and time of
data collection, weather conditions, signs of human activity/disturbance,
group members, the number of each type of bird your class is sampling for,
and blank space for additional comments.
1. Separate students into pre-established cooperative groups.
2. Pass out field guides, data sheets, clipboards, and pencils to each group.
3. Assign roles of each group member for main experiment.
* Assign one person to each bird studied and one to the "other" category. As an alternative, one person could serve as official recorder marking down their group's
data on the official group sheet.
This person would switch at every stop, so every member of the group has a chance to
try tabulating the data. Try to identify birds in the "other" category while
outside. Perhaps the group member responsible for counting the "other" birds
could describe each unknown bird in as much detail as possible for later
attempts at identification.
4. Go outside. Have the first group recorder list start time, date, group
members, and weather conditions, signs of human activity, and additional
comments on data sheet. All groups will be recording data at the same time
at the same point in the path, but will use separate data sheets.
5. Begin at the start of the path. Emphasizing quiet, walk 20 meters into
your path. Stop and have each group look for and count birds for 2-3
minutes. Once the data collection period is over, have each person report
their bird's total numbers to the recorder. Switch recorders. If you have
added "extra" birds, fill those columns in too. Don't forget to remind them
that these birds get recorded twice, once in the other category and once on
their own. Continue this method at 20 meter intervals until each group
reaches the end of the path. (rembering to mark our own path.)
6. Return to classroom. List each group's data on the chalkboard. The
recorder for each group is responsible for copying this information for
their respective group.
7. Using a computer spreadsheet program or graph paper, have students graph
their group's data with data collected from other groups. How does the data
collected by each group compare? If there are differences, have class
discuss possible reasons for discrepancy. Accept all answers. Explain that
scientists often use multiple trials when collecting data.
8. Have students average the data collected by each group. This average will
serve as the class' official data. Explain that scientists often average
data collected by various researchers to normalize disparity in the data.
9. Have recorders copy this information and file it in their group's project
10. Have groups graph their data and the official class data from this
collection period in relation to data previously collected. How does it
compare? If there are obvious differences, ask class to list those factors
that may influence these differences? Seasons? Weather? Disturbance near the
11) Input each groups data into the official data sheet.
Include the following:
* Name of School
* Location of Path (i.e. City and County)
* Time of Day
* Start Time
* Finish Time
* # of Groups
* # of Students per Group
* Type of Study
* Number of House Sparrows
* Number of Goldfinches
* Number of Red-winged Blackbirds
* Number of Mourning Doves
* Number of Other Birds
* Whether or not a Plot was used
* Comments (i.e. all the other birds were chickadees, etc.)
for Mathematics and Science
The Following is an except from District 97 Handbook:
As a result of their schooling, students will be able to understand and use the appropriate processes, methods and techniques in math and science.
MS2-A Observe, classify, and measure objects, materials, substances, phenomena and events.
MS2-B Collect, organize, describe, analyze, summarize and interpret dat using statisical concepts.
MS2-C Construct, read and interpret tables, graphs, and charts.
Each student will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
ABILITY TO COLLECT, CLASSIFY,ORGANIZES, AND RETAIN INFORMATION
locates information from a wide variety of sources; student can name at least 4 or more identifying characteristics of a bird
locates information from 2 or more sources; student can name at least 3 identifying characteristics of a bird
locates information from only one source; student can name only one identifying characteristic of a bird with prompting
Has difficulty locating information from one source; Is unable to recall or name one characteristic of a bird.
DEMONSTRATES SKILL USING RESOURCES AND TECHNOLOGY
Is highly skillful and effective in using a variety of resources and technology to access information
Uses a variety of resources and technology to access information
Accesses or selects from basic resources; with assistance uses a variety of resources and technology to access information
Uses technology to access teacher-selected information; with assistance selects information from basic resources
Leads in completion of task; models an appropriate balance between speaking and listening; exceeds expectations and role responsibilities
Participates in completion of tasks; meets expectation and role responsibilities; balances role between speaking and listening in the group
With assistance, contributes to completion of tasks; with assistance meets expectations and role responsibilities
Is Frequently off task; participates to a limited extent; with assistance partially helps to complete tasks
CREATES PRODUCT THAT ACHIEVE THEIR PURPOSE
(BIRD FIELD GUIDE)
Creates a superior field guide that reflects an innovative and efficient approach towards achieving its purpose; articulates subtle characteristics of product and gives detailed answers to questions about it.
Creates a field guide that achieves its purpose; Describes essential characteristics of the product and accurately answers questions about it.
With assistance creates a field guide that has essential elements: Describes most characteristics of the product and briefly or with minor errors answers questions about product.
Field guide is incomplete or maybe disorganized; describes a few characteristics and/or makes numerous errors: With prompting partially answers questions about product.
Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office, Friends of Fermilab, United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, and North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL). Author(s): Olivia Miller and Marva Simmons (with e-mail address links) School: Hatch Elementary , Oak Park, Illinois Created: October 18, 1997 - Updated: October 18, 1997 URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/f97projects/yourfolder/test.html