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Teaching Suggestions
Will Robin Choose Your Neighborhood?
(Back to Slideshow Overview)


A male robin wants the best possible territory for his mate and babies. Citizen scientists OBSERVE and WONDER: What does a male robin look for when choosing a territory? What happens once a territory has been selected? Explore these questions using the facts and photos in this slideshow/booklet.

Essential Question:
What does a robin look for when choosing a territory?
Set the Stage for Learning

1. Display the cover. Ask questions to assess prior knowledge:

  • Why do robins have territories?
  • When robins return to our backyards in the spring, how do they choose a territory?
  • Who do you think chooses the territory, males or females?
  • How do you think a robin stakes a claim on the territory he chooses?
  • What do you think happens after a robin claims a territory?


2. Preview images in the Photo Gallery. On large chart paper, post the essential question: How do returning robins choose a territory in the spring? Have students make pre-reading predictions based on details they see in the photos.

3. Preview vocabulary using Word Cards. Have students work with a partner to read aloud each word. Have them predict how the words may be related to the essential question: What does a robin look for when choosing a territory?


Viewing the Slideshow

As a class, read through the pages of the slideshow together. Stop occasionally to spotlight key words and ideas or ask questions. Encourage students to share their own questions sparked by the information and images.

Optional printed booklet of slideshow can be copied and assembled for partner or at-home reading.

Revisit for Understanding

1. Reread the selection together. Have students identify sentences that give facts specific to the essential question. Page-by-page, challenge them to summarize main ideas and key details.

2. Write fact captions. Print out images from the Photo Gallery. Have students cut out the photos and adhere them to an index card. Have them write captions that describe facts they learned from the slideshow or booklet.

3. Read with fluency and expression. Pair students. Provide a copy of the text-only page. Invite them to read aloud the text together in a variety of ways. This text page can also be used as an oral reading assessment.

4. Ask Reflective Questions. Encourage readers to think beyond the text with questions like these:

  • How would you know if a robin has chosen your backyard for its territory?
  • Why is claiming and defending a territory so important to a male robin? (It must be safe to protect his family so the baby birds can survive to grow up. It must have adequate food sources and water for the adult parents and the babies of 2 or 3 nestings.)
  • What survival strategies do female robins need? (They often fight other females for the best males and best territories, ensuring better chances for their babies' survival.)
Wrap Up

1. Observe and Wonder! Would a robin choose your schoolyard for his territory? Go outside with notebooks and pencils. Sketch what a robin would see and might wonder as it surveys your schoolyard to determine if it would be a good territory.

2. Track Robins Migration With Journey North
As robins spread throughout their breeding range, predict when and where they will travel. When will they reach your hometown?

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