Kindergarten to 2nd Grade Bird Study Lessons 1 through 12



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This unit is designed to engage students in the study of birds.  Students will become ornithologists as they investigate bird parts and functions as well as their life cycle.  Students will also investigate bird parent behavior and bird relationships with the environment. Students will observe and study many species of birds across the USA.  Student scientists will keep a bird study journal to record data, sketches and writing responses to show their learning. This unit also includes student texts related to the lessons on three levels.  The learning targets for each lesson align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and include many science and engineering practices. The Bird Watching Academy has developed this unit to inspire students to gain interest in and become advocates for the protection of birds; viewing these amazing creatures as animals essential to many ecosystems of the world.

5E Lesson Design

These lessons are designed with a student focus.  The 5E Design has five components where the students are asked to Engage, Explore, Explain, be Evaluated and to Elaborate on their learning.  Each of these lesson components are labeled within each lesson. The 5E Lesson Design is an inquiry based approach focused on engaging students and sparking their questioning and curiosity as a motivation to explore and learn about the focus of each lesson.  Due to the nature of exploring, designing and writing, the time to complete each lesson will vary. Most lessons should take approximately 45 minutes. The Elaborate section and optional student texts add additional time.

Bird Study Journals

The index includes a blackline master for the student Bird Study Journals.  These journals include pages for note taking, sketches, vocabulary frames, and writing responses.  Preparing each student a Bird Study Journal ahead of time will save teachers time in preparing materials for each lesson, and allow a record of student learning.  The individual pages for each lesson are also included following each lesson they correspond with. When appropriate, a teacher key is included as an example.

Unit Vocabulary

The specialized vocabulary for this unit is intended to be both challenging and useful scientific terminology.  Students explore and write about each word in their Bird Study Journals using a vocabulary word frame as a graphic organizer.  Each vocabulary word has a poster card with a student friendly definition and picture or illustration. These cards should be posted in the classroom and the words should be used often to help solidify student understanding.

Student Texts

This unit has five sets of student texts with content related to the concepts students are studying.  Each set includes an Early Reader Level K, an Early Reader Level 1 and a Fluency Passage Level 2.

The Early Reader Level K texts are simple and predictable.  The black and white pictures allow for students to color the pictures and even add drawings to some of them.  These readers are optional.

The Early Reader Level 1 texts are designed for the average first grade reader to be able to decode.  The words are simple (aside from some of the specialized vocabulary). The pictures are photographs used to enhance student learning.  Some of the Level 1 texts are included as part of the lesson. Most of them are optional. The lesson materials section will indicate if the reader is optional or not.

The Fluency Passages are designed to allow students to read aloud multiple times to develop fluency.  Research indicates that the re-reading of text is a practice that will promote fluency. This unit provides you with text that is appropriate for both fluency practice and with content to increase learning about the natural world!  It is recommended to have students take an initial one minute timing and have subsequent practices with adult modeling, partner reading and independent practice. This can be followed by a final timing to gage improvement. Students should improve by 20-30 wpm if allowed to practice with a fluent adult or partner 2-3 times.  This can be integrated into the Language Arts portion of the day if desired.


The “Evaluate” section in each lesson explains how teachers will know if the students have mastered the lesson objectives.  Student assessment varies and will be done orally, by observation, and by writing/drawing in the Bird Study Journals. These formative assessments will help the teacher know when students have mastered the content and are ready to proceed to the next lesson.  Teachers should reteach and clarify misunderstandings as they occur.  

A end-of-unit summative assessment is included for use if desired.  There are three sections; Vocabulary, Content and Writing Response. Teachers should select the assessments they feel would be most appropriate for their students, as well as reflect how well they have mastered the standards.

Bird Watching Academy

The Bird Watching Academy wishes to promote students to become life-long learners and activists for the protection of birds.  The Academy has included a parent letter about the unit and about how to sign up their child to become a member of the Bird Watching Academy.