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Lesson ideas

* KS23. Ask pupils who race pigeons or have parents with this hobby to describe to the class their ideas on how the birds "home". They may be able to bring a pigeon to school and answer questions about it. Get pupils to identify birds they see in the school grounds. This could include those stopping off during a long migration. Pupils could research the journeys made by puffins, swifts, swallows, Canada geese and Arctic terns and plot them on maps of the world. These activities should emphasise the scale of each migrating bird's achievement and give some insight as to why it's difficult to have a single explanation for the phenomenon.

Pupils could learn the names of birds' body parts and feather types, and some of the simple keys that are available for identification. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has a "Guides to guides" article in the "Birdwatching" section of its Youth Pages website (, which shows what features to look for when identifying birds. Many elementary texts feature keys as well. The use of these is part of the KS2 programme of study and the skill should be reinforced at KS3.

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