banding, instinctively, structure, suitable, building site, fledging,
blueprints, sturdy, securely, predators, nestlings, anchor, grass
fibers, grams, incubate
Introduce the selection by asking students the following questions:
1. How do robins build a nest?
2. What kinds of natural materials do robins use to
build their nest?
3. Where do robins build their nests? Why?
4. How big is a robin's nest?
Create a chart to organize questions about a robin's nest-making
process. Write the topic on chart paper: A Robin's Nest-Making Process. List five categories below the
topic: Who? Where? When? Why? and How? Use the chart prior to reading the selection to record students'
questions and predictions. (Activating Prior Knowledge, Making Predictions
and Asking Questions to Set a Purpose for Reading)
Invite students to think about the following questions before reading
1. If you were a robin searching for a spot for your nest
on our school grounds, where would you build and why? Encourage
students to share reasons for their responses.
2. Using the natural materials in the area around the school
grounds, how would you build the nest? Encourage students
to share reasons for their responses.
3. How do you think the following words will be used in an
article about the nest-making process of robins: days, weeks, months,
years, inches, grams, height, and weight? Encourage students
to share reasons for their responses.
Read "Building a Robin Nest." Encourage students
to "mark up the text" by circling unfamiliar words, underlining
key words and phrases, and writing notes in the margins. Invite
them to underline sentences that reveal answers to the preview questions.
Revisit the text to answer questions listed prior to reading. Ask
questions to facilitate students' work: Which questions were
answered by details in the text? What facts did the article reveal
about the nest-making habits of robins? Invite students
to generate more questions for further research. (Rereading for
students reread the selection with a partner. Invite them to create
a Concept Map to organize facts from the article. Topic: A
Robin's Nest-Making Process. Categories:
Who? Where? When? Why? and How. Have students
summarize (orally or in writing) the key ideas from the text using
their concept map. (Summarizing Main Ideas and Details in the Text)
the text for math connections. Have students search the reading
selection for measurement terms: days, weeks, months, years, inches,
grams, weight, height. Invite students to discuss how each of the
words relates to robins' nests.
Ask students to investigate grams as a unit of measure using the
following questions: What common objects are measured in grams?
If a dry robin's nest weighs 205 grams, what common objects are
similar in weight? How many ounces would be the same as 205 grams?
For example, a 6 oz. can of tuna weighs about 170 grams. (Making
A robin's nest is about 8-20 centimeters in diameter (3-8 inches).
Invite students to make circles to show the range of diameters for
a robin's nest.
Making Connections: Home Sweet Home
1. How do we build sturdy and secure homes? How do we make our homes
comfortable and safe? What natural resources are used to make human
shelters strong, durable, safe, and comfortable? (Making Text-to-Self
2. Read other articles and books about the nest-making process of
robins and other birds. Related Reading Selection: About
Eagle Nests. What other facts about nests did you discover? Compare a robin's
nest to an eagle's nest. (Making Text-to-Text Connections)
Lookout: Find and read "Strange Nests" by Ann Shepard
Stevens. Millbrook Press Inc., 1998, ISBN 0-7613-0413-4 This illustrated
picture book examines the nests and nest-building habits of eleven
birds common to the continental United States, as well as unusual
nests that have been built when normal nesting materials were in
Robins nest in trees, and in nooks and crannies on houses, streetlights,
and other man-made structures. One way to help robins is to build
a nest platform using the Nest Platform Plans from Carrol Henderson of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
(Making Text-to-the-World Connections)
Evaluate (Identifying and Analyzing Text Structure)
Authors make decisions about how to present information to readers.
They choose from a variety of structures to organize facts. Have
students identify which of the following text structures can be
found in the reading selection. Encourage them to give examples
from the text to support their answers.
Chronological/Sequence: (Time/Order) Chronological articles reveal events in a sequence
from beginning to end. Words that signal chronological structures
include: first, then, next, finally, and specific dates and times.
Cause/Effect: Informational texts often describe cause
and effect relationships. They describe events and identify or
imply causal factors.
Problem/Solution: The text introduces a problem and describes
Compare/Contrast: Authors use comparisons to describe ideas
to readers. Similes, metaphors, and analogies are used in compare/contrast
Description: Sensory details help readers visualize information.
Directions: How-to texts frame the information in a series
Journey North's Robin
Nest Photo Study to see photos of the entire nesting cycle
of a pair of robins. Use the photos to collect details for writing: What do you see? (colors, shapes, sizes, objects) What sounds
do you imagine from the photos? What textures do you imagine?
What comparisons can you make? Use the sensory details
to write a descriptive paragraph about robins and their nests.
author that writes scientific articles does research to become
an expert. Research more facts about the nesting habits of robins.
Write a fact book for young readers to share your expertise: Nest
robins be safe during their nesting season. Write a letter for
a community newspaper to remind pet owners to keep cats indoors.
Learn the facts about cats and birds from the American
Bird Conservancy's Cats Indoors Program
that write about topics in creative, whimsical ways often start
with "What if...Thinking" to spark ideas for writing.
Use the following "What if...Wonderstorms" to spark creative
writing ideas about robins and their nests:
What if...a real estate agency hired you to create a marketing
campaign for robins? How would you write advertisements for robins'
What if...a music company hired you to write a song about
how robins build their nests?
What if...a publishing company hired you to write a Step-by-Step
Guide for Nest-Making?
- (Making Inferences, Drawing
1. How do you think the nest-making process of robins differs from
how other birds build nests?
2. Visit Journey North's Robin
Nest Study. What new things did you learn? Record observations
and discoveries in your journal.
3. Visit Journey North's Robin
Nest Photo Study. What's the most interesting thing you learned?
Record observations and discoveries in your journal.
Science Education Standards
- An organism's
behavior patterns are related to the nature of that organism's environment,
including the kinds and number of other organisms present, the availability
of food and resources, and the physical characteristics of the environment.
is one kind of response an organism can make to an internal or environmental
and animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into
adults, reproducing, and eventually dying.