Teaching Suggestions
Whooping Cranes and the Seasons
The Annual Cycle of the Whooping Crane
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Month by month, where are Whooping cranes and what are they doing? The facts and photos in this slideshow showcase the annual cycle of the Whooping crane. Choose from an array of activities to explore how these cranes respond to the seasons. Discover ways to document the seasonal events throughout the year.

Essential Question
What is the annual cycle of the Whooping crane?


Photo gallery of annual cycle
The Annual Cycle

Start With Wonder

Explore Month-by-Month Images
Use the images in the photo gallery to wonder aloud about where Whooping cranes are and what they are doing at various times of the year:

  • Where are Whooping cranes during winter?
  • What do Whooping cranes eat?
  • How do cranes know when it's time to migrate?
  • What are Whooping cranes 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. As students learn about Whooping cranes, encourage them to add fact sentences to their wonder rings.


Wonder Rings

Wonder Rings

Showcase the Cycle

Select from these activities to extend learning:

Calendar Handout
Challenge students to showcase what cranes do throughout the year by writing month-by-month verbs on the calendar handout. This sheet 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 crane's annual cycle. As you follow this season's spring migration, document news on the timeline. Will this season's news match the expected events of the annual cycle or will you see unexpected surprises?

Annual Cycle Wheel
Display and discuss the sample annual cycle wheel. Give students a design challenge: How would you showcase the month-by-month events of the crane's annual cycle on a wheel? What words and images would you use to showcase where Whooping cranes 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, Marsh Water and Sedge for Nest-building

Other Showcase Challenges
Have students synthesize what they learned about the Whooping crane's annual cycle by designing flip books, desktop calendars, lapbooks, file folder games, or accordian books.


Annual Cycle Calendar
Calendar Handout
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Annual Cycle Wheel

Annual Cycle Wheel
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http://www.learner.org/jnorth/images/graphics/tnail/annual_flow_chart_tn.gifCause-Effect Chart
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Follow this Season's Spring Migration  

This spring, from February to May, we will highlight the seasonal and life events of Whooping cranes in news updates tied to the exciting real-time events. Meet the birds and share their journey. Explore a rich collection of slideshows, bird biographies, video clips, real-time maps, and engaging activities.