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Teaching Suggestions
Welcome Spring! Earthworms and Robins Return
(Back to Overview)

The arrival of the first robins is often closely tied to the appearance of the first earthworms. Use the activities and resources in this guide to discover how closely these two events are connected.

Essential Question:

How is robin migration related to the return of earthworms in the spring?

The Annual Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly Slideshow

Before Reading

1. Pre-reading Riddle
Share the following clues one at a time, encouraging students to identify the animal you are describing:
No eyes...No ears...Five hearts...No lungs...Takes in oxygen. Have students share responses and then reveal the answer: the earthworm!

2. Slideshow/Booklet Cover
As students read the title and study the photograph, ask questions to assess prior knowledge:

  • When do you see earthworms in your backyard?
  • What signs would help us predict when we'll see the first earthworm this spring?
  • How do you think the arrival of earthworms and the arrival of spring robins are related?
3. Essential Question
Preview images using the Photo Gallery page. On large chart paper, post the essential question: How is robin migration related to the return of earthworms in the spring? Have students share pre-reading predictions based on details they see in the images.
Reading the Text

Viewing the Slideshow
As a class read through the pages of the slideshow together, stopping occasionally to spotlight key ideas and ask questions. Encourage students to share questions sparked by the information and images.

Reading the Booklet
Determine how you will have students experience the booklet text for a first reading: whole class, small group, partner, or individual. Encourage students to take notes or mark up the text--underlining key ideas and making notes in the margins.

After Reading

1. Key Word Challenge
Have students reread the text and select 5-10 key words that capture the main ideas. Challenge them to use the key words to write a summary paragraph or a fact poem.

2. Temperature Check
Take your class outside to measure above- and below-ground temperatures. Discuss the temperature data based on facts learned from the slideshow/booklet. Ask questions to challenge students' thinking.

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.


Wrap Up: Summarize and Synthesize Learning

1. Observe and Wonder! Take students outside with notebooks and pencils. Invite them to sketch and describe what they observe and wonder. Encourage them to look for signs that will help them predict the arrival of earthworms and robins.

2. Track Earthworms and Robins Spring Migration With Journey North
As robins spread throughout their breeding range, predict when and where they will travel.

Extension Activities

1. Temperature Timeline
Create a visual record of spring's arrival by constructing a wall-size line graph on large chart paper. Have students document this month's average temperatures on the graph. Encourage them to draw, write, or add digital photos to the line graph to show signs of spring that appear as temperatures change. As a class, watch for timely connections between changing temperatures and signs of spring. At the end of the month, challenge small groups of students to summarize data from the line graph on a week-by-week Temperature Timeline.

2. Earthworm Research
Challenge students to learn more about earthworms! Start with this question, and find three additional interesting facts: Why do worms come out after it rains?

Other links to explore:

Sample Timeline

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