Teaching Suggestions
Claiming a Territory
Will a Robin Choose Your Neighborhood?
Back to Slideshow


A male robin wants the best possible territory for his mate and babies. Citizen scientists observe and wonder:

Driving Question:
What does a robin look for when choosing a territory?
Before the Slideshow

1. Preview images and ask questions:

  • Why do robins have territories?
  • When robins return to our backyards in the spring, how do they choose a territory?
  • Who do you think chooses the territory, males or females?
  • How do you think a robin stakes a claim on the territory he chooses?
  • What do you think happens after a robin claims a territory?

2. Preview vocabulary using word cards. Have students work with a partner to read aloud each word. Have them predict how the words may be related to the driving question:What does a robin look for when choosing a territory?


After the Slideshow

1. Revisit the text for understanding.
Have students identify sentences that give facts specific to the essential question. Page-by-page, challenge them to summarize main ideas and key details.

2. Write fact captions.
Print out images from the gallery. Have students cut out the photos and adhere them to an index card. Have them write captions that describe facts they learned from the slideshow or booklet.

3. Read with fluency and expression.
Pair students. Provide a copy of the text-only page. Invite them to read aloud together in a variety of ways.

4. Ask reflective questions.
Encourage readers to think beyond the text with questions like these:

  • How would you know if a robin has chosen your backyard for its territory?
  • Why is claiming and defending a territory so important to a male robin? (It must be safe to protect his family so the baby birds can survive to grow up. It must have adequate food sources and water for the adult parents and the babies of 2 or 3 nestings.)
  • What survival strategies do female robins need? (They often fight other females for the best males and best territories, ensuring better chances for their babies' survival.)

5. Go outside to observe and wonder!
Would a robin choose your schoolyard for his territory? Sketch what a robin would see and might wonder as it surveys your schoolyard to determine if it would be a good territory.

6. Track robin migration with Journey North.
As robins spread throughout their breeding range, predict when and where they will travel. When will they reach your hometown?

Related Links to Extend Learning
Robin Migration and Warm Spring Temperatures