Activities and Lesson Plans

cover_birdlips.jpgBird Lips!?
Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, November 2009

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Suggested Topics:  food webs, adaptations, conservation

Related 4th Grade TEKS:

Language Arts:
4.13 A,B,C,E,G: Reading, Inquiry, Research : Inquires and Conducts Research Using a Variety of Sources
4.1 A,B,C: Listening, Speaking, Purposes : Listens Actively and Purposefully in a Variety of Settings
4.15 A,C: Writing, Purposes : Writes for Variety of Audiences and Purposes in Various Forms
4.18 A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H: Writing, Grammar, Usage : Applies Grammar and Usage to Communicate Clearly and Effectively in Writing
4.1 A,B,C: Listening, Speaking, Purposes : Listens Actively and Purposefully in a Variety of Settings
4.21 A,B,C,D: Writing, Inquiry, Research : Uses Writing as a Tool for Learning and Research
4.5 A,B,D,F: Listening, Speaking, Audiences : Speaks Clearly and Appropriately to Different Audiences for Different Purposes and Occasions
4.9 B,C,E: Reading, Vocabulary Development : Acquires Extensive Vocabulary through Reading and Systematic Word Study
4.1 A,B: Scientific Processes : Conducts Field and Laboratory Investigations
4.2 A,B,C,D: Scientific Processes : Develops Abilities to do Scientific Inquiry in Field and Laboratory
4.3 A,C,D: Scientific Processes : Uses Critical Thinking and Scientific Problem Solving to Make Informed Decisions
4.4 A: Scientific Processes : Use of Tools and Methods to Conduct Science Inquiry
4.5 A,B: Science Concepts : Parts Removed from Complex Systems
4.8 A,B,C: Science Concepts : Adaptations Increase Survival

Discussion Questions

  • What is a carnivore? An herbivore? An omnivore? What are you?
  • What role do teeth or bills play in wildlife diets?
  • Can teeth or bills give you a clue about an animal's feeding behavior? How?
  • What other parts of an animal might give you a clue about an animal's feeding behavior?
  • What advantages are there to having wildlife eat in different ways and having different diets? What would happen if you and all your friends only ate blueberries? What if deer, rabbits and other animals only at blueberries?


Skull Skills
Borrow a training trunk with animal skulls or look for skulls on the web. Compare the location of the eye sockets, shape of the jaw or bill and teeth if the species has teeth. Identify the characteristics that would make it easy or hard to find and eat different types of food.
Who's coming for dinner?
See "Who's coming for dinner?" on our Outdoor Kids pages. Lay different tools such as a straw, tweezers, nutcracker, tongs, fork and spoon on a table. Lay out items such as seeds, dots floating in a small dish of water, unshelled nuts, a narrow necked vase with a small amount of water, etc. Have students match tools that and wildlife food out on a table. Which birds have bills that are similar to the tools that you laid out? What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a special type of bill? Consider introducing the idea of being a specialist or generalist an how that may affect their ability to survive.
Thanksgiving Feast
Create a Thanksgiving feast for birds. Have students identify wildlife (birds, mammals and reptiles) that live in your region. Create birdfeeders out of pinecones or recyclables. Use a variety of birdseed for the types of birds that live in your area.
Food Webs
Using a poster or pictures from the magazine, create a food web. Draw lines or cut out images and connect with yarn. Some species will be both predator and prey. Have students put the sun at the top to provide energy and sunlight for plants.
Design an Animal
Have students create animals out of clay, pipe cleaners, macaroni and other craft or natural items. What do their animals eat? What features does it have to help it find and eat its food?
See activities for the Predator vs. Prey issue of Keep Texas Wild for additional activity ideas and resources.

Project WILD

Interesting Links for Further Research

Young Naturalist