Reading and Writing Connections for this selection:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird:
Researching Hummers?One at a Time

Reading Strategies:

  • Ask Questions and Make Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading
  • Build Vocabulary Skills
  • Recall Main Ideas and Supporting Details
  • Reread for Text Details
  • Sequence Events Described in the Text
  • Summarize Main Ideas and Details
  • Make Inferences and Draw Conclusions
  • Make Text-to-Text Connections
  • Make Text-to-Self Connections
  • (About Reading Strategies)

    microscopic, molts, ornithology, dye, permit, misting nets, ecology, engraved, banding data, international, consecutive, site fidelity, outreach, notified, facility, license, trapdoor, banders, subsequent, aluminum




Introduce the selection by asking students the following questions: How do researchers collect information about hummingbirds? What information has been documented from hummingbird research? How do researchers use the data collected? Invite students to add questions about hummingbird research. Use the Carousel Brainstorming activity to elicit students? questions. In carousel brainstorming, small groups of students are placed in circular seating arrangements. Each student has a sheet of paper. Each student lists questions about the topic on the paper. After 2-3 minutes, they pass their list of questions to a student sitting next to them. They read the questions and write additional ideas on the page. Continue this brainstorming, passing, brainstorming, passing process. Brainstorming ends when students receive their original list. (Asking Questions, Setting a Purpose for Reading)

Introduce vocabulary words for the reading selection. Use a variation of the Clue Collector activity to preview words and elicit students? predictions. In their small groups, students receive a set of vocabulary words. Each group receives a different set of words:

Set #1: microscopic, molts, ornithology, dye
Set #2: permit, misting nets, ecology, engraved
Set #3: banding data, international, consecutive, site fidelity
Set #4: outreach, notified, facility, license
Set #5: trapdoor, banders, subsequent, aluminum

Students generate predictions about facts that may be revealed in the reading selection based on the topic and set of clue words they receive. Invite each group to share their predictions with the class. Encourage them to share reasons for their predictions. Discuss how the set of vocabulary words affected the predictions students generated. Ask questions to facilitate the discussion: How did the set of words your group received affect the predictions you made? Which words from your list sparked predictions and why? Which words did your group look up in the dictionary? (Making Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading, Building Vocabulary)

Read "Researching Hummers?One at a Time." Encourage students to "mark up the text" by circling unfamiliar words, underlining key words and phrases, and writing notes in the margins.

Related Reading Selection: "Like Banding a Toothpick! Talking with Sarah Driver, Hummingbird Bander." Invite students to read about a licensed hummingbird bander in Ozark, Missouri. In this article, Sarah Driver shares, "I often see 100 birds at a time, I have 30 feeders out and use three gallons of sugar water a day at peak season." Vivid pictures are painted for readers by the many descriptive details in this reading selection.

Have students draw lines on a notebook page to create a Three-Column Recall Chart. Ask them to label each column: First Reading Details, Second Reading Details, and Third Reading Details. Have students fill the first column with facts they recall from reading the selection. Give them a limited amount of time to jot their ideas down in the first column of the chart. Have students share some of the key ideas they remembered after the first reading. Invite students to reread the article, paying attention to details they can add to the chart in column two. Repeat this process for a third reading and recall-writing. Each column should contain different ideas and be written in the students? own words. Ask students to share how rereading the informational text helped them collect many ideas. (Recalling Main Ideas and Details, Rereading for Text Details)

Have students revisit the text in small groups to write a group response for the following questions: (Sequencing Events Described in the Text, Summarizing Main Ideas and Details, Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions)

1. What is the step-by-step process of hummingbird banding described in the reading selection?
2. Why does researcher, Bill Hilton Jr., put green dye on the hummingbird?
3. What have researchers learned based on hummingbird banding?
4. How do you think researchers use the data collected from capturing and banding hummingbirds?

Challenge students to incorporate the vocabulary words from the pre-reading activity in their answers to the questions.

Journaling Questions (Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions)
1. What are the risks and benefits of capturing and banding hummingbirds?

2. What kinds of data will help researchers learn about the migration habits of hummingbirds? What are some "unsolved mysteries" about the migration habits of hummers?

3. Reread the details about Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project. How do you think the work done at this facility helps hummingbirds?

Making Connections: Compare and Contrast
1. Read the related reading selection, "Like Banding a Toothpick! Talking with Sarah Driver, Hummingbird Bander." Compare and contrast Bill Hilton?s banding techniques with Sarah Driver?s methods. How are the banding techniques similar and different? Create a Venn diagram to graphically organize the similarities and differences. (Making Text-to-Text Connections)

2. Read about other research methods for capturing, banding, and tracking a variety of birds and other animal species. Compare and contrast the different methods used to collect data for research. Create a Venn diagram to graphically organize the similarities and differences. (Making Text-to-Text Connections)

3. Read Journey North?s Unpave the Way for Hummingbirds to learn about creating a Hummingbird Habitat in your backyard or on school grounds. Another resource for further research isOperation RubyThroat?s Attracting Hummingbirds. (Making Text-to-Self Connections)

Evaluate (Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions)
Help students become strategic readers who read between and beyond the lines of the text. Ask the following questions to generate a discussion about how strategic readers approach nonfiction texts:

1. What details from the text reveal Bill Hilton?s expertise?

2. Why do you think the author included details about the researcher?s knowledge and experience in the field of hummingbird research? (Readers of nonfiction make inferences and draw conclusions about the validity of information described in a text. The author may have included the details about Bill Hilton?s experience to show readers the validity of the information presented.)

3. Which word or words best describe the author?s purpose for writing this article: persuade, entertain, inform, express, inspire, describe, explain, clarify. Help students identify the author?s purpose(s) by asking the following questions: As a reader, did you gain information? Were you persuaded to think about hummingbird research in a certain way? Were you inspired to take action on behalf of hummingbirds? Did you visualize events described in the text? Did you read about the thoughts and feelings of the author

Writer's Workshop

  • Descriptive
    See Journey North?s Unpave the Way for Hummingbirds to learn about creating a Hummingbird Habitat in your backyard or on school grounds. Another resource for further research is Operation RubyThroat?s Attracting Hummingbirds. Observe hummingbirds and write descriptive words and phrases in a field log or notebook.
  • Expository
    Use facts from the reading selection to create a book for young readers. Explain Bill Hilton?s process of capturing and banding hummingbirds. Include details about what data is collected from this type of research.
  • Persuasive
    Many nonprofit organizations work on behalf of wildlife. These organizations often rely on donations from caring citizens in order to fund their important work. Write a persuasive letter that inspires schools to donate to organizations working to protect and preserve wildlife.
  • Expressive
    Write a thank you letter to researchers for their work on behalf of wildlife.