Robin Annual Cycle


Teaching Suggestions

Month by month, where are robins and what are they doing? The facts and photos in this slideshow showcase the annual cycle of the American robin. Choose from an array of activities to explore how robins respond to the seasons. Discover ways to document the changes you observe throughout the year.

Driving Question: What is the annual cycle of the American robin?

Start with Wonder

Explore Month-by-Month Images

Use the images in the photo gallery to wonder aloud about where robins are and what they are doing at various times of the year:

  • Where are robins during winter?
  • What do winter robins eat?
  • How do robins know when it’s time to migrate?
  • When does nesting begin?
  • What are backyard robins doing in July?

Create Wonder Rings

As students explore the photos and facts, have them write questions on index cards. Punch a hole in each card. Insert the cards onto a metal o-ring to create  “wonder rings”. As students learn about robins, encourage them to add fact sentences to their wonder rings.

Showcase the Cycle

Select from these activities to extend learning:

Calendar Graphic

Challenge students to showcase what robins do throughout the year by writing month-by-month verbs on a calendar graphic. This can also be used for note-taking or assessment.

Hallway Timeline

After exploring the photos and text as a class, create a large timeline to showcase the month-by-month events of the robin’s annual cycle. As you track this season’s migration, add your own backyard observations to the timeline. Will your observations match the expected events of the annual cycle or will you see unexpected surprises? Report observations to Journey North.

Annual Cycle Wheel

Display and discuss the annual cycle wheel . Give your students a design challenge: How would you showcase the significant month-by-month events of the robin’s annual cycle on a circular wheel? What words and images would you use to showcase where robins are and what they are doing throughout the year?

Seasonal Circle Book

Make a circle book to showcase the cyclical events by season (fall, winter, spring, summer). Encourage students to revisit the slideshow’s facts and photos to construct their circle book. Display books in your school’s library.

Cause-Effect Flow Charts

Sunlight drives seasonal change. Choose key events from the annual cycle and explore cause-effect relationships by creating flow charts. Draw boxes and arrows to showcase the chain of events that start with sunlight changes. Example: Nest-building Chain of Events: Sun, Warmer Temps, Ground Thaws, Snow Melts, Mud for Nest-building

Other Showcase Challenges

Have students synthesize what they learned about the robin’s annual cycle by designing flip books, desktop calendars, lap books, file folder games, or accordion books.