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Why Migrate North in the Spring?
Teaching Suggestions
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Background
Warm weather and lots of insects help to make hummingbirds' winter home south of the US border a welcome habitat. But every year in late-winter and spring, hummingbirds take to the skies and head north.

Class Discussion Before Viewing Slideshow
Hummingbirds have basic survival needs; food, water, shelter, and space. How do you think hummingbirds benefit by coming north in the spring? Invite students to explore this question by viewing the slideshow together. Use your Hummingbird Journals to write about what they think.

After Viewing Slideshow: Main Concepts to Discuss

  • Identify the basic needs hummingbirds have in order to survive and raise young.
  • Recognize the role of increased sunlight in rebuilding the foodchain, and the large landmass of the United States and Canada in the ruby-throated hummingbird's spring migration.
  • Understand that the hummingbird's northern breeding range is much larger than its winter range. (The actual sizes: breeding range = 25 million square miles, winter range = 4 million square miles.)
  • Understand that migration evolved many years ago as an adaptation. Now hummingbirds are born knowing by instinct that they must migrate.

Journal
Use the Journal Page as an assessment for what your students have learned about hummingbird migration.

Activity

Exploring Land Mass (Game): Does Earth Have More Land or Water?
In this activity, students "toss" or spin a globe to compare the land mass in the Northern vs. Southern Hemisphere. This helps them grasp why so many birds migrate north in the spring.

Extensions

Life Cycle Sleuth: Students Develop Hypotheses About Migration
Why do animals migrate? By studying an animal's life cycle and everyday behavior closely, students can form hypotheses about the reasons for migration, and predict when migration will occur.

Seeing The Light: Recognizing the Sun's Role in Living Systems
Students create webs that illustrate their thinking about how sunlight affects living systems, such as food chains and webs.

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Grades: 3+

Standards

 

journal page
Print:
Student Journal Page


Activity

globe-toss game
Students in Mexico play the globe-toss game.