Lesson Plans about Migration

Magnificent Migration

The lesson plans for this stop during "Migration Science and Mystery: A Distance Learning Adventure" at Bay of Santa Maria, Mexico, emphasize migration.  Bird migration, which is the seasonal movement of birds from their breeding grounds to their wintering grounds, is perhaps one of the most spectacular, physically demanding and mysterious wildlife events.

Concepts Presented in Lesson Plans

■ During each year of their lives, most shorebirds migrate between habitats located in different geographic areas.
■ Shorebirds spend most of each year at their nonbreeding sites.
■ Arctic-nesting shorebirds undertake some of the longest migrations of any animals.
■ Migratory shorebirds depend on habitat in at least three areas: breeding, nonbreeding, and migratory stopover sites.
■ Shorebirds concentrate in great numbers at their stopover sites.
■ Because shorebirds fly together in large numbers, their populations are extremely vulnerable to threats along their migratory routes.
■ Most important migratory stopovers are nutrient-rich habitats, like estuaries, that also provide resources desirable to humans, making them vulnerable to alteration, pollution, disturbance, and destruction.
■ Shorebirds migrate between northern breeding areas and southern wintering areas to take advantage of seasonal food resources.

Lesson Plans about Migration

 Migration Headache
(lower elementary/upper elementary)
Students become “migrating shorebirds,” traveling between nesting and wintering habitats. Along their journeys they experience some of the threats affecting the survival of migratory shorebird populations.

To complete this activity, you will need the Survival Cards.

Migration Math Madness
(upper elementary school/middle school)
Students discover that shorebirds migrate long distances between their northern breeding grounds and southern breeding habitats, using five defined corridors or “highways” in the sky. By using the migration map provided, they measure and calculate the distances some shorebirds travel and come to understand why shorebirds must stop to feed and rest along the way.

The Incredible Journey
(upper elementary school/middle school)
Through an active simulation game, students learn about the many threats shorebirds face on their migratory journeys.

Bird’s-eye View
(upper middle school/high school)
Students imagine that they are a migratory shorebird and design an illustration that conveys the length and difficulty of the trip, as well as the landmarks, habitats, and stopover sites they pass over along the way.

To complete this activity, you will need the Shorebid Profiles and Magnificent Shorebird Migration.

Shorebird Migration Flyways
A migration flyway is an invisible “highway in the sky,”  a general route birds follows as they fly from their breeding grounds in the north to more southern areas where they spend their winters.  Find out more information about the flyway where you live.