Lesson Plan

Fly Away! (The Race South)

A golden eagle in flight
Golden eagles fly south from Denali before winter begins
NPS Photo / Kent Miller

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Grade Level:
Sixth Grade-Ninth Grade
Duration:
45 - 60 minutes
Group Size:
8 or fewer
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
National Standards for ...
Science: Content Standards A, E
Math: Geometry
Geography: Element 1
Social Studies: Standard II

Overview

In "Fly Away! (The Race South)," students will learn how researchers study migratory patterns.

Our extensive "Fly Away!" curricula unit is broken into twelve lesson plans, each taking 30 - 90 minutes to complete, and targeted at varying grade levels. A class needn't complete every lesson in the unit - each lesson comes with its own set of objectives and resources. This is lesson 10 of the unit.

Objective(s)

Guiding Question: How do researchers study migration patterns? What can we learn from radio-tracking golden eagles?

Critical Content: The range of flight rates for golden eagles and how they compare along the way and between eagles. The difference between rates of migration (average rate over days including rest) and air speed (actual speed when flying)


Student Objectives: Students will ...

  • map coordinate information
  • interpolate numbers between grid lines
  • interpret mapped information
  • record data
  • use mapped information to answer research questions

 



Background

Our extensive "Fly Away!" curricula unit is broken into twelve lesson plans, each taking 30 - 90 minutes to complete, and targeted at varying grade levels. A class needn't complete every lesson in the unit, though some lessons do refer to one another and are better done in sequence. However, each lesson comes with its own set of objectives and resources.

The final lesson, "Fly Away! (Being a Biologist)" can be done independently, as a large research project, or as a final assessment after having done some, or all, of the other lessons in the unit.


Check out the other lessons:

Lesson 1: Exploring Migration
Lesson 2: Climate and Seasons
Lesson 3: Climate and Migration Patterns
Lesson 4: Spatial Migration Game
Lesson 5: Migration Cues
Lesson 6: Homing Experiment
Lesson 7: Bird Modeling
Lesson 8: Golden Eagle Life Cycle Diagram
Lesson 9: Which Way Do We Go?
Lesson 10: The Race South
Lesson 11: The Safe Zone
Lesson 12: Being a Biologist



Materials

Students will need calculators for this lesson.



Procedure

Procedures:

1. Assign one eagle to each group.

2. Students calculate the incremental rates of migration (km/day) (see extension) between each tracking location

3. Students race south by calculating the cumulative distance migrated southward and roundtrip or for one entire year.

Prizes can be given for the:

- highest average speed for the trip south,

- highest average speed for the return trip north,

- maximum speed between any two successive tracking locations,

- longest migration

- southern most point (lowest latitude)

- eastern most point (smallest negative longitude)

Discussion Questions:

1. How far do golden eagles travel when they migrate?

2. How far do they travel per day?

3. How quickly do they travel?

4. Where do they go? How far south and west do they go?

Adaptation:

For lower grades, call out the dates and have the students plot the points. See who gets to their southern most point first.