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Focus on Feathers
JN for Kids pages
* Focus on Feathers
Teacher Background
* What Scientists Think
* What I Observe, What I Wonder

Photo: Larry Koob
Overview: Students closely observe photos of a robin's wing, pose questions, and think about the "why" behind the adaptations they see.

Teaching Ideas

Before Observations

  • Before students view the Focus on Feathers photos, ask them try to draw a feather or wing from memory.
  • Have students make KWL charts about feathers or wings.

During Observations

  • Ask students to describe one of the photos to a partner. Have them imagine they are "painting a picture" with words for someone who has never seen wings or feathers.
  • Hand out copies of this chart for students to complete: What I Observe, What I Wonder. (You can also do this as a class.)

Making Connections

  • Pose this question and discuss it as a class: How do you think each thing (adaptation) you observed helps robins fly?
  • Read What Scientists Think. Use these facts to guide more observations. (Older students can read the page themselves.)
  • Ask students to draw a robin's wing. This time they should label the parts and what they do.
  • Home assignment: Ask students to observe wings on two different birds outdoors. They can draw what they see and/or come to class ready to answer this question: How are birds' wings and feathers the same? How are they different?