22nd October 2004 at 01:00
Get the RSPB pack.

Prepare class sets of bird outlines for pupils to record quickly the features observed on birds in parks or woodland. Record in colour distinctive plumage, and sketch in tail, foot and beak shape, and estimate size. In class, identify the birds using pictures.

Introduce terms used to describe parts of a bird, eg crown, nape, mantle, wing coverts and flank, so more complex identification keys can be used (eg field guides from Collins or Kingfisher) to identify birds using written keys and descriptions and pictures.

* Collect flight feathers and down (from inside old pillows if all else fails). Get students to use hand lenses so they can see the small hooks which interlock the barbules of the flight feathers. Hooks are absent from down.

* Carry out the cooling experiment with hot water and beakers, using down feathers as one of the insulating layers. You may have temperature probes and software to enable this to run continuously during a lesson.

* Stroke a flight feather towards and away from the quill and see how the feather reforms when the stroke is in the away direction. Link this to the preening behaviour.

* Place drops of water on flight feathers treated with detergent and others that are not. The water wets the treated feather. Discuss the way feathers are waterproofed.

Use the article to reinforce the idea that food chains featuring birds like thrush and woodpecker change according to season. This links to a study of the adaptations of beaks and feet to the main food source.

* Work on the mechanisms involved in the maintenance of body temperature in homeotherms could be extended to include the physiological and behavioural ones mentioned here. The counter-current blood flow in the legs of birds could also be linked to work on heat exchangers.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now