Teaching Suggestions
Black-and-White Birds: Which Are Cranes?
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Whooping cranes are not the only large black-and-white birds in Florida in winter. It’s very important in making any identification of an unexpected bird to get a good look at both the bird’s shape and color pattern. Use the activities in this guide to help students explore this question:

Essential Question:
What physical characteristics are used to identify whooping cranes and distinguish between look-alike birds?


Whooping Crane Identification

1. Before Reading

Examine Cover Image and Title
Invite students to examine the cover image of whooping cranes in flight. Encourage them to share what details in the photo could be used to identify cranes from other black-and-white birds. Ask:

What physical characteristics do you think we could use to identify whooping cranes from other birds that may look similar?

Explore the Photo Gallery
Invite students to examine images from the photo gallery prior to reading the slideshow. Challenge them to identify similarities and differences that could be used to distinguish the birds featured in the images. Have students predict how many different birds appear in the set of images. How many birds can they name? Which birds spark students’ questions?

2. Reading the Text
Viewing the Slideshow
After students have explored images, made predictions, and asked questions, read through the pages of the slideshow together, stopping occasionally to spotlight key ideas and ask questions. Encourage students to ask additional questions sparked by the text.
3. After-Reading Activities

1. Journal Page.
Compare and contrast the identifying characteristics of whooping cranes with the Snow Goose, one of the look-alike birds featured in the slideshow. Have students work with a partner to make a Venn diagram that shows the similarities and differences between the birds. Provide time for students to share their diagrams with the class.
2. Identification Card
Have students summarize what they learned from the slideshow by creating Whooping crane ID cards. Encourage them to revisit the text and images from the slideshow to determine what information and pictures they will include on the identification card they create.

4. Wrap Up: Summarize and Synthesize Learning
1. Summarize the Facts: Fact Book
Have students use photo gallery images to create their own fact book, using information they learned about whooping crane identification.

2. Showcase Discoveries
Create a poster to showcase physical features that can be used to identify whooping cranes. Encourage students to find facts and images from the slideshow for their showcase poster.