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create hypotheses and design experiments to study migration and
Guiding Question: What
cues does an animal use to know when to migrate? How do animals
orient and navigate during migration?
Animals follow seasonal
and life-history cues to know when to migrate. Animals use
specific senses to navigate on their way.
Group size: entire
class, groups of 2-3 students
Basics and Secrets
of Animal Navigation (National Geographic, June 1991)
for each student.
You Begin: Students
should read Migration
Basics and Secrets
of Animal Navigation (National Geographic, June 1991).
[If the readings are
too long for students, assign different sections of the readings
to different students and have them report what they learned to
the rest of the class.]
- As a class, make a
list on the board from the reading of different cues that animals
use to know when to migrate, the different senses animals use
to navigate and give examples of species that use these cues and
- Split the class into
small groups, each group picks one migratory animal species. In
their groups, students brainstorm how a researcher might study
the migration of that species.
- Each group creates
a hypothesis for how the animal knows when to migrate, and designs
an experiment for researchers to test their hypothesis.
- Each group then creates
a hypothesis for how the animal navigates during migration, and
designs the experiment for researchers to test this hypothesis.
- Have each group create
a small poster that shows their hypotheses, how they would research
migration cues and navigation, and what results they might expect
to find if their hypotheses were correct and if they were incorrect.
The teacher may decide how realistic the research logistics should
- Each group present
their poster describing their hypotheses and proposed research.
The class should ask questions about each others' research and
how it will answer the hypotheses and what conclusions they might
draw depending on the data they could collect.
- What are the easy things to study and what are the harder things
- What kinds of ideas and information did you use to create your
- If you could create an invention to aid in the research of your
species, what would it be?