and the Seasons
Will Our Hummingbird
Habitat be Ready?
Materials: See Web and journal pages, below.
Timing: Begin this activity in the winter.
this extended lesson, students explore the chain of
sun-driven events that must occur before hummingbirds can return to
their breeding habitat.
advances, sunlight increases, and a host of natural events are set in
motion. Temperatures rise, ice melts, soil warms, plants grow, flowers
bloom, and the many links of the hummingbird's food chain come together
Reasons for Seasons: Background
if you need a refresher on the relationship between sunlight and seasons.
List Habitat Needs: What does a hummingbird need
from its habitat?
Ask the above question and make a list of hummingbird needs. Here are
two options for exploring this question; use one or both to find out what
a) Have students think about what they've observed or
learned about hummingbirds. Document responses on chart paper. Revisit
and revise these later in the year.
b) Have children view photos in
When Will Our
Hummingbird Habitat Be Ready? and
respond to the questions
below each photo.
2. Look for Connections to the Seasons: Is the hummingbird's
Help students think backward from each habitat need they identified in
#1 above. These include food (nectar and insects), water, and shelter/nesting
spots. Ask, What seasonal changes need to happen in our neighborhood
before hummingbirds can get what they need? Consider asking these
types of questions to help them link ideas:
Could hummingbirds get nectar here this time of year?
Student: No, there are no flowers.
What has to happen for flowers to come out?
Student: The ground needs to thaw so plants can grow.
What causes the ground thaw?
What causes the warmth?
Student: The sun's energy increases in spring.
What causes the sun's energy to increase?
Student: The changing season; our hemisphere gets more sunlight
in the spring.
Make Predictions: Draw Chains of Connections
Together, discuss students' responses. Students should begin
to realize that
each new event is affected by the one before it — and that the sun
is at the beginning of all of these chains.
Pass out the Chains of Connections
journal page. Have students use it to illustrate their predictions
about cause-and-effect relationships. (The teacher's
version has an example.) Do
this early in the season so students can document their predictions. They
should continue to add to it, or to a new version, as they uncover new
information during the season (see below).
and Track Weather and Habitat Changes
do events unfold from winter to spring?
What causes what? What role does the weather play? As the season progresses,
invite students to gather new information about how these factors link and
interact. Consider these sources:
Review students' original and revised charts, journal pages, and responses
to discussion questions. Use this assessment scale to document their understanding
and abilities. Choose items appropriate to your study and grade level.
see these related activities and information: