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Migration - Teacher's Guide

   Episode Overview
strawberriesIn the opening segment, Junior Naturalist Patrice looks at how some animals migrate to find food or a place to hibernate, while others migrate to mate, give birth, or raise their young. Next she joins Senior Naturalist Dave Erler and helps him band some birds so they can be tracked as they migrate. In the third segment, we take a closer look at how three raptors, the broad-winged hawk, the red-tailed hawk and the snowy owl migrate. Finally, Sara and Davis help Iain McCleod with his annual hawk count.
   Program Objectives
Students will:
1. Analyze how adaptations help organisms survive.

2. Identify migration as an behavioral adaptation.

3. List reasons for migration.

4. Give examples of migration.

5. Recognize the distinct characteristics of raptors.

6. Describe how some raptors migrate to survive.
Adaptation Lichen
Hibernate Neotropics
Migration Thermals
   Previewing Activity

Have students brainstorm reasons why an animal might leave its habitat.

   Post-Viewing Activities

1. Have students make a list of regional animals and research whether they are resident or migrant.

2. Have students work individually or in small groups. Have each group make three lists of animals. One for animals that they know migrate, one for animals that they think migrate, and one  for animals that they think don't migrate. Have the groups report their lists back to the class and make a large chart of the lists. Discuss the lists as a group and have the students research animals that they have any questions about.

3. Depending on the season, have students keep a journal of animal activity in their area. They can note things like increasing bird songs, flocks of birds or animal sightings.

4. Have students research their area and find out what animals migrate. You can contact your local branch of the Audubon Society to find out more about birds or you can contact your state fish and game or wildlife department for information about local wildlife.

  Hands-On: Move Along
   Materials Needed
Map of North America or sequential list of states
Game pieces
List of migration "dangers" (for the teacher)
Recording sheet

Tell the students that they are migrating birds and will be traveling from Canada to Florida (you can choose any path you like) 

Distribute a single die and map to each student or group of students. Have the students place their game piece at the starting point and then roll the die and "migrate" the number of states that they roll. Have the students stand up as they reach Florida and record the number of rolls it took them to get there.

Repeat the process three or four more times, but these times introduce a migration "danger" that eliminates the migrator. For example, after the first roll a migration danger might be that all "birds" that landed in Maryland have died because their usual resting place is now a parking lot, or that birds that flew to New Jersey hit a high rise building. Record how many "birds" make it safely to Florida as you add these conditions.

(Thanks to Doug Hoff, Third Grade Teacher, Mast Way Elementary School, Lee, NH for this activity.)

  Hands-On: Wind Beneath My Wings

In this experiment, students will learn how Bernoulli's Principle and wing structure helps birds fly.

   Materials Needed

paper strips


Have the students place a strip of paper just under their bottom lip and gently blow over the paper. The paper should lift.

Here's the Physics!

This happens because of Bernoulli's Principle which states that as the speed of a moving gas or liquid increases, the pressure decreases. When the students blew over the paper, they decreased the pressure on the top of the paper and the higher pressure on the underside of the paper lifted it up. When birds and planes fly, the curved upper-side of their wings causes air to move faster than the air on the underside of their wings. So the air pressure on the top is lower than the air pressure on the bottom!

   Additional Resources

Web Sites

Animals A-Z from the Oakland Zoo
Animal fact sheets from the Oakland Zoo. See section V. of each animal for adaptations.

Animal Bytes
This site from Sea World features animal fact sheets and includes sections on adaptations including migration.

Animal Diversity Web
This site from the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology includes profiles of hundreds of animals.

Journey North
Track the migration of a number of different animals, including the monarch butterfly, with schools across the country at this site from Annenberg/CPB.

Monarch Watch
This web site from the University of Kansas looks at the migration of the monarch butterfly and has lots of resources for students and teachers.

They Swim the Seas : The Mystery of Animal Migration by Seymour Simon, illustrated by Elsa Warnick 
ISBN: 015292888X 
Publisher: Browndeer Press
Publication Date: September 1998
Reading Level: Ages 8-12
The migration of aquatic plants and animals.

Hawk Highway in the Sky: Watching Raptor Migration by Caroline Arnold, photographs by Robert Kruidenier 
ISBN: 0152008683
Publisher: Gulliver Books
Publication Date: April 1997
Reading Level: Ages 8-12
Documents the work of scientists and volunteers as they track hawk migration at Nevada's Goshute Mountains.

Flight of the Golden Plover:The Amazing Migration Between Hawaii and  Alaska by Debbie S. Miller, illustrated by Daniel Van Zyle 
ISBN: 0882404741
Publisher: Alaska Northwest Books
Publication Date: June 1996 
Reading Level: Ages 8-12
A look at the amazing transoceanic migration of the Pacific golden plover.


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