Chambers' First Hummingbirds
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Challenges (upper grades)
on the math skills of your students, consider doing one of the
them to find the average, range, and median arrival dates on
their own. Then have them make their prediction for this year.
(Devising a problem-solving method is a great math exercise!)
students need more support, hand out the Calculating
the Mean Student Worksheet (HTML
(This step-by-step example shows just one way to solve the problem.)
You can also work
through the problem together using the Calculating the
Mean SAMPLE Worksheet (HTML
It shows how to work the problem using data from 1994-2003.
After working through the sample, students can recalculate,
including the arrival dates since 2003.
and Discussion Questions (with answers)
factors do you think can affect when Lanny's hummingbirds arrive
(Storms and extended severe temperatures could directly harm
or kill individual hummingbirds. These same factors could also
affect the availability of nectar and insects, which are important
Rubythroat food sources. Also, a returning hummingbird may have
the same "clock" for migration, but a bird that's new
to Lanny's territory might have slightly different timing.)
on Lanny Chambers's data, what general conclusions can you draw
about hummingbirds' arrival in their breeding grounds in Missouri?
(They generally arrive around the same date each year. Changes
in daylenth [photoperiod] trigger hormones that give Rubythroats
the urge to migrate. Weather may vary from year to year, but daylength,
which changes consistently, is the main influence on migration.)
do you think scientists value the practice of long-term record
keeping? What types of things can they learn from doing this?
(They can study how short- or long-term changes in weather,
climate, food availability, and other factors influence migrations.)