Lesson Plan

Fly Away! (Spatial Migration Game)

A golden eagle perched on rocks
Describing migratory species and their types of migration
NPS Photo / Kent Miller

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Grade Level:
Third Grade-Seventh Grade
Subject:
Biology: Animals, Climate, Ecology, Geography, Wildlife Biology
Duration:
45 - 60 minutes
Group Size:
8 or fewer
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
National Standards for ...
Science:
Content Standard C

Geography:
Elements 1, 3

Social Studies:
Standard II
Keywords:
migration

Overview

In "Fly Away! (Spatial Migration Game)," students will learn how different species use different  methods of migration.

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 4 of the unit.

Objective(s)

Guiding Question: Why are there different types of migration?

Critical Content: Students will understand different species use different types of migration depending on their own life histories, environment and climate.

Student Objectives: Students will ...

  • describe movements on a globe
  • translate data between spatial models and maps



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:

  • A globe or some other map
  • Index cards or something similar, to create game cards
  • Masking tape
  • Desks grouped together into "mountains" (see the game description in the Procedure section)



Procedure

Before You Begin: Review Migration Basics and present to the students the different types of spatial migration. It may be helpful to review longitude and latitude with the students before you begin this game.

Using that reading and/or information already gathered on various migratory animals from previous activities in the "Fly Away!" unit, students should write down on index cards the name of a migratory animal and the general route of migration. For example, humpback whales are longitudinal migrants that move from Alaska to Hawaii each year.



Migration Game

Have students set up the room so that it represents the western hemisphere of the earth, marking the equator and the major longitude and latitude lines with masking tape. There should also be some "mountains" arranged for North and South America as well as Canada and Alaska.

Group students into teams of 3 or 4 students each.

This game is played like charades except the students act out the migration patterns of the animals and the other teams guess the animals.

One team picks a card and demonstrates how the animal moves during its migration. Allow the students a little time to consult and prepare exactly what they want to present. A globe should be available so that students can move correctly along the latitudinal and longitudinal lines.

The other teams have to guess what animal it is based on the clues presented. Clues could include the latitude where the animal is located or students can pretend to be the animal, etc.

The team that identifies the animal correctly must also identify which type of spatial migration occurs. If they are correct then they receive a point.

Discussion Questions:

1. What types of migration occur in the animal world?

2. Why do these different types exist?