Habitat and the Seasons
When Will Our Robin Habitat
Materials: See Web and journal pages, below.
Timing: Begin this activity in the winter.
this lesson, students explore the chain of sun-driven events that must
occur before robins 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, and the
many links of the robin's food chain come together again.
Reasons for Seasons: Background
if you need a refresher on the relationship between sunlight and seasons.
List Habitat Needs: What does a robin need from its
Ask the above question and make a list of robin needs. Here are two options
for exploring this question; use one or both to find out what students
a) Have students think about what they've observed or
learned about robins. Document responses on chart paper. Revisit and revise
these later in the year.
b) Have children view photos in
Habitat and the Seasons and
respond to the questions
on the worksheets.
2. Look for Connections to the Seasons: Is the robin's habitat
Help students think backward from each habitat need they identified in
#1 above. Ask, What seasonal changes need to happen in our neighborhood
before robins can get what they need? Consider asking these types
of questions to help them link ideas:
Could robins eat worms here this time of year?
Student: No, there are no worms.
What has to happen for worms to come out?
Student: The ground needs to thaw.
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: