Fermilab LInC Online

Birds Of A Feather



Student Pages

Index of Projects




The study of birds is one of the basic units of study in our life science curriculum in Oak Park. This unit is targeted for students in grades 1-3. It is designed to focus on their characteristics, functions as well as how living things change. Birds are an ideal study because they are pretty, fun to watch and found in most every habitat, including urban environments, and in many cases individual species are easily identified or distinguished from other species. They also provide a fun way to explore science and study the environment around you. Birds are group of animals most commonly studied by amateurs and experts alike.

Our team of two, Mrs. Simmons second class and Mrs. Miller's second and third graders of Hatch Elementary School will be working on an integrated unit as part of the Chicago Academy of Science Museums in the Classroom Threatened, Endangered, and Extinct Species Program. Parts of this program have been adapted for our second and third graders. Through this study we will be able to introduce the concept of plot studies.(The path study attempts to measure bird abundance over time and geographic area). Data collection is an important aspect of scientific analysis. A good, consistent research plan and data collection method can provide information that can prove or disprove theories and extrapolate trends and correlations to a larger population. By understanding how data is collected and some basic analyses, our students learn to draw conclusions from a sample and apply them to a whole population as well as the discipline necessary to achieve useful results.(Binoculars will be provided by our district's science department.)

It is also our hope to incorporate the internet with hands-on collaborative activities to integrate lessons in math, language arts and geography. As a result of this project, students will discover patterns in the types of birds they see and compare their results with other classrooms across Illinois.



Student Task: An Overview

Our project is comprised of three sections:

Section 1: Identifying and Counting Birds (An Indoor Activity)

Section 2: Establishing A path

Section 3: Data Collection and Analysis



In section 1- identifying and counting birds, students are introduced to the general concepts of what birds are and how to identify types of birds.This information is supplemental and will enhance the learners knowledge of birds and the basics of bird identification. Students are placed in cooperative groups to search for answers in reference materials, CD-ROMS or on the web. It also includes an opportunity for learners to make their own field guides by printing images from the world wide web and coloring the pictures in.

A Closer look

In section 2 - this section involves the setting up of the transect, or path students will use. It is suggested by the Chicago Academy of Science "Off the Beaten Path" that the path for our experiment should be 200 meters long. (The time spent setting up the transect/path will help us to determine habitat types and the basic environment of our study path.)

A Closer Look

In section 3-This section encompasses the data collection and analysis of the project. This section is repeated every time data is collected. Ideally, data should be collected twice a month from end of September to end of November. The actual time spent each data collection period should be recorded on the data sheets, but the student will be stopping approximately every 20 meters for 2 to 3 minutes at each location. Thus, the 200 meter transect should take approximately half an hour to complete. It is also suggested by the Academy of Science to choose a path near our school so that we can visit it easily within a class period. This path should also reflect the local environment to yield results that are meaningful to our students. And finally, using our data and the technique of graphing, we will compare our results with other classrooms across Illinois via the internet.

A Closer Look

* Note: I have linked a more detailed student task description of each section for a closer look.



Go To Presentation Page


My presentation background picture made by: http://www.windyweb.com/design/


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 School, Oak Park, Illinois
Created: October 18, 1997 - Updated: October 18, 1997
URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/f97projects/your folder/scenario.html