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Teaching Suggestions
Whooping Crane Comeback!
Back to Slideshow Overview

Introduction

On the brink of extinction, only 15 wild migratory Whooping cranes remained in the early 1940s. Since 2001, with ultralight aircraft leading the way, a new wild migratory flock is being reintroduced to the eastern United States. Each year, new crane chicks are raised in captivity, trained to migrate with the ultralight planes, and added to the new eastern flock. Species recovery is a long-term challenge. Every year is an exciting new chapter in the cranes' comeback!

Essential Question

What challenges do people face when we try to save endangered Whooping cranes from the brink of extinction?


Set the Stage for Learning

1. Preview the cover photo. Ask questions to assess prior knowledge:

  • What is this plane doing?
  • Why do you think this slideshow is called "Whooping Crane Comeback?"
  • Where are the whooping cranes going?
  • Why are these whooping cranes flying with an ultralight plane?

Whooping Crane Migration Journal Cover
Cover photo

2. Preview images in the photo gallery. On large chart paper, post the essential question: What challenges do people face when we try to save endangered Whooping cranes from the brink of extinction? Have students make pre-reading predictions based on details they see in the photos.

Whooping Crane Comeback: photo gallery
Photo gallery

Viewing the Slideshow

As a class, read through the pages of the slideshow together. Stop occasionally to spotlight key words and ideas or ask questions. Encourage students to share their own questions sparked by the information and images.

Revisit for Understanding

1. Wonder Aloud
Revisit the images in the photo gallery, and share intriguing facts and questions about whooping cranes and ultralight-led migration:

  • Ultralight planes are also called trikes.
  • Migrating whooping cranes have many stopover sites from Wisconsin to Florida.
  • When and where does the migration begin?
  • Why do humans have to wear crane costumes when they are near the birds?

2. Create Wonder Rings
Have students record questions about whooping cranes and ultralight-led migration on index cards or cardstock tags. Make wonder rings by punching a hole in each card and inserting the cards on a metal ring. As you follow the migration, revisit the wonder rings and have students record discoveries on the back of each card.

Wrap Up


Mark Up the Text: Revisit the essential question: What challenges do people face when we try to save endangered Whooping cranes from the brink of extinction? Have students reread the text-only version of the slideshow with a partner, circling key words. Challenge them to use the key words to summarize main ideas and details.

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