Camouflage is an important survival strategy in the animal kingdom. In this activity, students will discover the value of protective coloration as they pretend to be birds in search of colored worms or bugs.
This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity.
Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:
Birds and Worms Simulation
In this free short simulation created by PLT, students pretend to be birds in search of food. This simulation explores the underlying concepts of how animals use camouflage. For example, which color “bug” will be the easiest for predators to locate in the chosen setting? Click to
NestWatch Citizen Science Project
NestWatch is a nest-monitoring project developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in collaboration with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and funded by the National Science Foundation. Sign up with your classroom to become a certified NestWatcher and help track the status and trends in reproductive biology of birds including nesting, eggs laid, eggs hatched, and hatching survival. Record your observations on the NestWatch App. Data collected through this citizen science project is intended to study bird populations and how they may be changing as a result of climate change, habitat loss, and the introduction of invasive species. You can even create your own nest box trails to monitor birds more closely. NestWatch’s new free resource for middle school educators, called Thinking Outside the (Nest) Box, can help educators anywhere in the country create nest box trails for birds on school grounds in order to provide habitat and project-based learning.
Ag Across America
Ag Across America is an online geography game for grades 3-5. With this game, students will learn more about how farms provide our food, fiber, and energy. The game guides students through a series of video and trivia questions about farms across the U.S. When you answer correctly, players collect items to have on their own virtual farm. Find more games and resources for young learners at My American Farm, and professional development opportunities for educators through On the Farm STEM.
Conservation Tales: The Cerulean Warbler
Have your students learn alongside Alyssa, a young girl who gets to see firsthand how scientific research can help protect endangered and vulnerable species. This Conservation Tales book focuses on the tale of the Cerulean Warbler, a small songbird endangered in Indiana and vulnerable in other states. The book’s author shadowed researchers at a scientific field site to create this book.
The BirdSleuth Guidebook from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers step-by-step instructions to enable families, school groups, and others to get outdoors and connect with nature. Use this booklet in conjunction with PLT lessons, for example, go on a habitat scavenger hunt (Trees as Habitats), create a sound map (Sounds Around), and identify backyard species (Schoolyard Safari and Name That Tree). The BirdSleuth program helps K-12 students participate in citizen science bird projects by guiding them through several tasks, such as using online resources to find your state bird, looking for birds that fit into different groups, practicing bird counting and entering data online, extracting data from eBird about local birds, and taking action to improve bird habitat in your area.
Discover the Forest
A program of the Ad Council and U.S. Forest Service, Discover the Forest offers resources that help families discover nearby forests and provides tips on how to prepare for and enjoy outdoor adventures.
Tips for Taking Students Outside
Friends of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center has put together some short, simple, and practical recommendations to help effectively incorporate use of an outdoor classroom. Suggestions include finding an experienced mentor, scheduling a set time for taking students outdoors, and examining learning standards to see what are best taught outside.
A free app that can be downloaded onto any Apple device (try iBird Lite for Android). Use WildLab Bird to learn the basics of bird identification. This application uses audio, photographs, maps, and the process of elimination to help identify over 200 bird species. Sightings can also be entered into a national bird watching database for comparison.
A free app that can be downloaded onto Apple or Android devices. This is a good tool for teachers and classrooms. Easily create bar, line and pie charts that you can customize, save and e-mail or upload. The charts you create can be saved using multiple color schemes and in multiple sizes. The app also works without an internet connection.