Reading and Writing Connections for this selection:

Migration: A Dangerous Journey

Reading Strategies:

  • Summarize Main Idea and Details
  • Identify Cause and Effect Relationships
  • Draw Conclusions From Information Described in the Text
  • Ask Questions and Make Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading
  • Connect to Prior Knowledge/Build Background Knowledge
  • (About Reading Strategies)

    larvae, fledged, transmission lines, irrigation systems, mortality, predators, predation, vegetation, concentrate, botulism, cholera, avian tuberculosis, vandals, toll, cell towers




Ask students about their journeys/vacations/travels. How did they prepare for the journey? What were possible dangers? (Connecting to Students? Prior Knowledge)

Prior to reading the selection, have students imagine being a whooping crane flying north on its migratory route. Have them list questions and predictions based on the title of the article. Examples: What are the possible dangers that make the journey treacherous for whooping cranes? How can the dangers be managed to help make the journey less treacherous? Who must take responsibility for the dangers? Encourage students to brainstorm anticipatory questions using Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? (Asking Questions and Making Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading)

Read "Migration: A Dangerous Journey." Related Reading: Invite students to research the archives of Journey North to read Migration Updates from previous seasons.

Library Lookout: Cherry, Lynne. Flute's Journey: The Life of a Wood Thrush. Harcourt Brace and Co., 1997. ISBN 0-15-292853-7. 32 pages. Flute's Journey is the story of a Wood Thrush's first year and his arduous first migration across thousands of miles from where he was hatched in Maryland to his winter home in Costa Rica, and back again, and of the many perils he encounters.

Revisit the selection to identify each of the dangers described in the text. Invite students to create a Two-Column Chart for the information they collect. In the left column, list the dangers whooping cranes face during the migratory journey. In the right column, invite students to write personal responses for each danger listed. Ask questions to elicit students? responses: "Which dangers are "manmade? How could the dangers be reduced or eliminated? What creative solutions are needed to make the migratory routes less arduous for the cranes? (Summarizing Main Ideas; Drawing Conclusions)

Use the details from the text to identify cause and effect relationships. Ask questions to focus students? efforts: "If a whooping crane did not achieve its destination, what are the possible causes? How do communication towers affect whooping cranes? Why are shallow ponds with little vegetation important to whooping cranes? What makes power lines perilous for whooping cranes?

Invite students to brainstorm ways they can change the cause/effect relationships that affect the whooping cranes? journey. Encourage students to evaluate their brainstormed ideas based on the following criteria: Cost? Feasibility? Timetable? Resources (People and Materials)? Community Support?

Journaling Questions
Over nearly a 40-year period, of 13 cranes that died during the migration and were found by people, 5 hit power lines, 4 suffered trauma due to collisions or gunshot injuries, 1 was shot, 1 died in a muskrat trap, 1 may have had a heart muscle disease, and 1 may have had a viral infection. What percentage of those crane deaths was directly related to human activities? Tom Stehn says, "If humans could minimize these impacts to cranes, the whooping cranes would do just fine. But humans continue to build more power lines, cell towers, and fences, and the whooping crane remains very much endangered." Humans are part of the problem but also part of the solution.

1. What actions do you think people should take to help minimize the dangers to cranes during migration?

2. If cell towers are being built in your community, find out who to contact. What points would you make to them? Your opinions count!

Making Connections: Why Should We Care?
1. What are the cause/effect relationships that could occur if the whooping cranes? migratory journey becomes too dangerous?
2. What would happen if fewer and fewer cranes were able to survive the journey?
3. Why should humans care? How can we make a difference?

Evaluation (Examine Author' s Strategies)
1. How did the author help you understand the seriousness of the dangers for whooping cranes? What words and phrases created the serious tone for this issue?

2. How would you categorize this selection: descriptive? persuasive? expository? narrative? expressive? combination? State your opinion and use examples from the text to support your reasoning.

3. How effective was this piece? Did you as a reader connect with the author?s message? Use samples from the text to support your opinion.

Writer's Workshop

  • Narrative
    Write a story about a flock of cranes making their journey north. Use the details you learned from the article to plot out problems and solutions for your story.
  • Persuasive
    Write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper to convince companies and influential groups to get involved in helping whooping cranes make safe journeys. One topic might be limiting the number or height of communication towers. Journey North research link:

    Towering Troubles: Bird Collisions with Communications Towers

    Another topic might be the need for good habitat all along the migration trail, and the wise use of resources for the benefit of both wildlife and human life. Jorney North research link:
    Fresh Water for ALL Texans: Enough for Both Humans and Wildlife?

  • Expressive
    Create a poem that expresses your thoughts and feelings about the whooping cranes? dangerous migratory journey.