Journey North for Kids
Observe, Describe, Wonder

JN for Kids
Journey North for Kids

JN for Kids features a collection of photos that capture the beauty and wonder of hummingbirds. Use the handouts and activities provided below to build keen observation skills and reflective thinking.

Ready-to-Use Resources
Photo Gallery
Observe and Wonder
Photo Gallery
Guiding Questions
Research Questions Sample
5 Ws and H Chart
Describe, Wonder, Hypothesize

Writer's Quest
Writer's Quest | Sample

Share the Wonder
Share the Wonder

Research Questions Sample
ABC Chart | Sample

Inquiry Reference Guide
Inquiry Guide
Inquiry-Based Instructional Activities

1. Observe, Describe, Wonder
The two-page format encourages inquiry-based exploration. On the first page, students look closely at a photo, describe details, and ask questions. On the second page, they read to discover what the photo reveals about hummingbirds.

Select and show a photo or series of photos. Model how to describe details and ask questions. For example, look at images that capture a hummingbird in flight and think aloud: I noticed the wings look like a blur. I wonder how many flaps their wings make in a second. How and why do hummingbirds hover in mid-air at flower blossoms? How do they get nectar from flowers? Which flowers do hummers prefer? Encourage students to wonder aloud and record their ideas on the Observe and Wonder chart.

2. Provide Clues that Focus on Details
After students look at a photo, describe details, and ask questions, stretch their thinking with one more challenge before letting them click the 'discover' link. Read aloud the photo caption and provide clue words to assess their background knowledge and encourage them to make predictions and ask additional questions.

To prepare for this challenge, choose 4-6 words from the 'discover page' before your photo study session with students. Here's an example:

Sample Photo: Fat Hummingbird Nectaring at Feeder
Photo Caption: Doubling Their Weight
Key Words: hyperphagia, fat, fuel, energy, metabolism, frenzy

3. Ask Questions that Lead to Further Exploration
Select from the Guiding Questions to encourage students to explore and think about details in the photo. Have them brainstorm questions inspired by the image you are studying. Use the '5 Ws and H' chart to stretch their question-formulating skills. Have them work with a partner to fill the page with a variety of questions:
Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

4. Describe, Wonder, Hypothesize
As students examine a photo, challenge them to think and act like scientists, describing details, writing wonder questions, and posing hypotheses.

5. Build Effective Communication Skills
Help students collect words and phrases they’ll need to communicate their scientific thinking. Use the Writer’s Quest for Details chart to help students find the words that describe details they observe in photos. Invite them to use the collected words and phrases to write possible captions for the photos.

6. Strengthen Observation and Thinking Skills
Use the ABC Chart in a variety of ways to build and strengthen students' skills:

  • Assess what students know by asking them to fill the boxes with words related to hummingbirds: general or focused (nesting, migration, adaptations)
  • Use for note-taking; students record discoveries they learn by reading information provided on the photo pages featured in JN for Kids.
  • Use as a pre-writing activity; students fill boxes with action verbs to describe what hummingbirds do: arriving, breeding, consuming, diving, eating, foraging, gorging, hovering, and more. Use the words to write poems or nonfiction.
  • Build a classroom hummingbird glossary by recording key words in each box. Students can fill out index cards with the words and definitions.
  • Challenge students to write snapshot sentences that describe the photo using words collected on the chart. Encourage them to include details that would help readers identify the image the sentences depict.

Explore Ways to Build Inquiry into Instruction
Plan for optimal learning using the strategies provided in the Inquiry Guide.