Lesson Plan

Fly Away! (Which Way Do We Go?)

A golden eagle in flight
Radio tracking helps researchers follow the migratory paths of eagles from Denali
NPS Photo / Kent Miller

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Subject:
Biology: Animals, Geography, Geometry, Science and Technology, Statistics, Wildlife Biology, Wildlife Management
Duration:
Two 45 minute periods
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! (Which Way Do We Go?)," 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 9 of the unit.

Objective(s)

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

Critical Content: How researchers use radio-tracking data to answer a series of questions about migration patterns of golden eagles.


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

The activity involves drawing the approximate migration route of an eagle onto a blank map, based on latitudinal and longitudinal points.

Drawing the route will involve pencils, rulers and colored pens.

Each file below represents the migration route of one eagle. Each fledgling is assigned a unique number to identify it, rather than a name.

In the files below, date, Lat., and Lon. represent the latitude and longitude coordinate of the eagle on a given day. Distance is the distance traveled since the previous date, in kilometers. The coordinate files are very extensive; you could consider having multiple groups work on different sections of just one fledgling's migration route, or you could consider instructing the class to just map a selection of days from the data, rather than every day.



Procedure

Before You Begin:

1. Print out and copy the data sets text files, one file for each small group.

2. Print out and copy the blank map for plotting, one copy for each small group.

3. Print out a copy of the maps for each fledgling (or All Fledglings) as a check to see if the students have mapped the data correctly.

4. Print out a copy of the Which Way Do We Go? Worksheet for each student.

Procedures:

1. Review latitude, longitude coordinates and mapping.

2. Assign each student a fledgling number. Hand out a copy of the Coordinates in text format for that fledgling, and the blank map for plotting.

3. Have students map out the migration route for their fledgling using the data set. They do not need to label the points, but they should connect the points to show the route.

4. If some students do not finish in one class period they should finish for homework, ready to discuss and compare their results with others.

5. When completed, students can compare their maps with those of other students with the same fledgling.

6. Then the students can be rearranged so that they are in groups with each fledgling represented once and they can answer the worksheet questions together by comparing all the maps. Alternatively, you can display their maps on the board for all students to use together.

Discussion Questions: review the students answers to the worksheet questions as a class.

Adaptation: Print out the maps for younger students and have them answer the questions on the worksheet.