Migratory Birds Math and Science Lessons

Hubbard Brook scientists have been studying birds continuously at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest since 1969, compiling one of the most detailed studies of Neotropical migratory birds in North America. This represents two significant resources for educators: first, a large body of knowledge detailing the population ecology and life histories of many migratory bird species, and second, a variety of examples of how researchers ask questions and the methods used to pursue the answers. With increased curricular emphasis on inquiry in today’s classroom, we’ve developed lessons that combine information about local migratory bird species with the methods scientists use to study them. This effort has resulted in a set of Migratory Bird Science and Math Lessons, which includes nine science and math lessons for grades 7 through 12; slide shows that explore Neotropical migratory birds and the methods used to study them; and additional resources for teachers, students, and parents. It is our hope that this resource will generate interest in ecology as well as support students’ development in science inquiry skills.

The nine lessons offered below are not presented in any strict order, but generally progress from basic to advanced. Science lessons are listed first and math lessons listed second; some lessons are appropriate across the two disciplines. Teachers need not follow lessons sequentially and can select the lessons that best match their classroom objectives. The lessons are categorized into the one of the following three skill levels:

Basic: Most likely appropriate for middle school or non-college prep courses.

Average: Most likely appropriate for advanced middle school or college-bound high school courses.

Advanced: Most likely appropriate for college-bound high school courses.

All lessons include a link to the grades 8 and 11 New Hampshire Science and/or Math Frameworks that are aligned with each lesson.


Lesson 3: Hunt and Peck

The purpose of this lesson is to: a) teach students that birds migrate to find food; b) introduce the transect as a key research method that is used to collect data in an efficient manner; and c) build awareness and understanding for the reasons that scientists want to collect these data.

Classes appropriate for: Life Science, Biology, Environmental Science