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The Story of Robin Eggs
Article | Teaching Suggestions

Reading Strategies for this Article

  • Activate Prior Knowledge
  • Ask Questions and Make Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading
  • Reread for Text Details
  • Sequence Events Described in the Text
  • Summarize Main Ideas
  • Explore Cause and Effect Relationships
  • Make Text-to-Text Connections
  • Make Inferences and Draw Conclusions
  • Analyze Author's Craft: Identify and Analyze Text Structure
  • (About Reading Strategies)
The Story of Robin Eggs

Vocabulary
migration, territory, courtship, breeding cycle, genes, ovary, ova, ovum, ovulated, oviduct, fertilized, secrete, albumen, proteins, calcium compounds, clutch, incubation, brood patch, receptors, egg tooth, clamoring

Read


Introduce the selection by asking students the following questions:
1. How many eggs do robins lay?
2. What time of day do robins lay their egg's(Sunrise, Mid-Morning, Afternoon, Evening, or Overnight)
3. Once the mother lays an egg, how long does it take to hatch?
4. How does a mother robin take care of her eggs?
5. Do all the robin's eggs hatch at the same time?
6. How long do baby robins stay in the nest after they hatch?

Invite students to use their prior knowledge about robins to respond to the questions. Encourage students to predict answers to questions. Invite students to add their own questions about a robin's eggs. (Activating Prior Knowledge, Making Predictions and Asking Questions to Set a Purpose for Reading)

Have students scan the subheadings of the reading selection: Breakfast First, An Egg a Day, Stopping at Four, On the Nest, Sharing Her Body Heat, The End of the Egg: Hatching Out. Place each subheading on a separate piece of chart paper. Have students predict, "where facts will be found" by writing the questions under each heading. (Making Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading)

Read "The Story of Robin Eggs." Encourage students to "mark up the text" by circling unfamiliar words, underlining key words and phrases, and writing notes in the margins. Invite them to underline sentences that reveal answers to the preview questions.

Revisit

Revisit the text to answer questions listed prior to reading. Ask questions to facilitate student'swork: Which questions were answered by details in the text? What facts did the article reveal about American robins and their egg'sInvite students to generate more questions for further research about robins and their eggs. (Rereading for Text Details)

Have students reread the selection with a partner. Invite them to sequence the events of a robin's breeding cycle: migration, territory, courtship, nest building, egg laying, incubation, hatching, and care of young. Have students summarize (orally or in writing) key ideas from the text using the sequence of events. (Sequencing Events Described in the Text, Summarizing Main Ideas in the Text)

Have students reread the selection to explore cause and effect relationships revealed in the text. Invite them to complete the following sentence starters using facts from the reading selection: (Exploring Cause and Effect Relationships)

1. Robins probably delay their egg laying until midmorning so that?
2. Robins lay only one egg per day because?
3. Until they have laid a full clutch, robins allow all the eggs to stay cool so that?
4. A mother robin gently rotates the eggs several times a day so that?
5. Female robins have a brood patch because?

Reflect

Journaling Questions (Making Inferences, Drawing Conclusions)
1. Why is it important for mother robin to keep her brood patch hidden when she's not sitting on egg's

2. Why do you think most birds lay their eggs in the morning rather than in the afternoon or evening?

3. Why do you think four is the best size for robin clutches?

4. What reasons can you think of to explain why robins time their egg incubation different from hawks and owl's


Making Connections: Reading to Learn
Birds that lay eggs in nests or on the ground usually lay colored eggs. Birds that lay their eggs in cavities usually lay perfectly white eggs. Find a book with pictures of different kinds of bird's eggs. (Making Text-to-Text Connections, Making Inferences, Drawing Conclusions)
1. Why do you think most eggs are colored?
2. Why do you think the eggs laid in cavities are white?
3. Can you think of a reason why robin'seggs might be blue?

Evaluating(Identifying and Analyzing Text Structure)
Authors make decisions about how to present information to readers. They choose from a variety of structures to organize facts. Have students identify which of the following text structures can be found in the reading selection. Encourage them to give examples from the text to support their answers.

Chronological/Sequence: (Time/Order) Chronological articles reveal events in a sequence from beginning to end. Words that signal chronological structures include: first, then, next, finally, and specific dates and times.
Cause/Effect: Informational texts often describe cause and effect relationships. They describe events and identify or imply causal factors.
Problem/Solution: The text introduces a problem and describes solutions.
Compare/Contrast: Authors use comparisons to describe ideas to readers. Similes, metaphors, and analogies are used in compare/contrast organizational structures.
Description: Sensory details help readers visualize information.
Directions: How-to texts frame the information in a series of directions.

Writer's Workshop

  • Descriptive
    Authors use sensory details to write descriptively. What would a robin's egg look like (color, size, shape)? What would a hatching egg sound like? How does a robin's egg feel (texture, temperature)? Collect sensory details to describe robin eggs in a nest. Use the sensory details to write sentences that evoke vivid images for readers.
  • Expository
    Write a magazine article that explains the events of a robin's breeding cycle.
  • Expressive
    Imagine witnessing baby robins hatching from their eggs. Write down your thoughts and feelings about this wondrous event.
  • Creative
    Some authors use creative strategies to write about facts for kids. When writers create animal characters that talk, they are using a strategy called personification. Rewrite the article from a mother robin's point of view. Use personification to help readers learn about the facts of a robin's breeding cycle. Be sure to keep the facts accurate so that young readers will learn about actual events in a robin's life.
Journaling Questions
  • Why is it important for mother robin to keep her brood patch hidden when she's not sitting on eggs?
  • Why do you think most birds lay their eggs in the morning rather than in the afternoon or evening?
  • Why do you think four is the best size for robin clutches?
  • Birds that lay eggs in nests or on the ground usually lay colored eggs. Birds that lay their eggs in cavities usually lay perfectly white eggs. Find a book with pictures of different kinds of birds' eggs. Why do you think most eggs are colored? Why do you think the eggs laid in cavities are white? Can you think of a reason why robins' eggs might be blue?
  • What reasons can you can think of to explain why robins time their egg incubation different from that of hawks and owls?

National Science Education Standards

  • Plants and animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying.
  • Each plant or animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, reproduction.
  • In many species, including humans, females produce eggs and males produce sperm.
  • Reproduction is a characteristic of all living systems; because no individual organism lives forever, reproduction is essential to the continuation of every species.

 

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