of the Hummingbird Spring Migration
As hordes of ruby-throated hummingbirds journey from Mexico and Central
America in the spring, where do you think they will arrive first? Which
routes will they use? Each week, students will consider these questions
and make new predictions. As they watch these energetic migrants spread
throughout their northern breeding range, they'll begin to discover why
the hummers travel where they do.
Print a copy
of the blank
Hummingbird Migration Map and the Migration
Route Prediction Chart for each student or student group.
revisit regularly during weekly migration updates
students to predict the route of the Rubythroat (or Rufous) migration
from Mexico and Central America as the birds enter the United States
in the spring. Ask, In which U.S. states do you think the travelers
will arrive first, second, third, and so on? Have them draw their
predicted routes on the blank migration map. They should then record
the names of the states where they predict the birds will arrive in
the left-hand column of the Migration
Route Prediction chart. (Note: If you are tracking the
rufous hummingbird migration, complete a chart for that species.)
- Ask students
to explain the thinking behind their predictions and respond to one
or both of these questions in their journals:
do you think the migration will travel in the direction you predicted?
(What do you already know or what have you observed in the past?)
- Each time
students receive a new News Update, they should record the names of
the states where the birds actually arrived, in chronological order.
(They can check their charts against our 2009 Predictions and
Results chart for Ruby-throated
Adaptation for younger students: Simply have students count
and name the states where the hummers have arrived.
have them revisit their predictions and explanations. If they make changes
in their charts, ask, What new information or observations caused
you to revise your thinking?
- At the
end of the season, ask students to describe the patterns they saw and
compare them with their initial predictions. Ask them to form hypotheses
to explain why the hummingbirds traveled when and where they did. (For
instance, "Hummingbirds travel faster when they're near water.")
Ask, How could we test our hypotheses?
Connections — Journaling and Discussion Questions
- In what
ways was the migration similar to your original prediction?
- In what
ways was the migration different than you predicted? Explain what you
did not know originally that caused your prediction to be off.
- What did
you learn about climate and geography from tracking the migration?
- What did
you learn about hummingbird biology?
As you listen to discussions, review student journals, and see how students
revise prediction charts and maps, use the Making
Predictions Using Data rubric.