Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Animal Adaptations: Baby Birds
Divide students into group - you'll want 4 or 5 students per group. Select one student in each group to serves as the mama/papa bird; the rest will be baby birds.
The mama/papa will be responsible for going to the food supply (a plate of pretzel sticks in the middle of the classroom), bringing back a piece of food and feeding it to the loudest baby bird.
The baby birds will be responsible for squawking loud enough to get fed ahead of their bird siblings.
Play the game for several minutes - be prepared for a very loud classroom!
Then, talk about what happened - the birds who squawked the loudest got the most food. These birds will grow big and strong and some day have baby birds of their own - probably babies who are loud squawkers. The babies who didn't get as much food to each might not fare as well. What might happen if a baby bird is born and unable to squawk at all?
While squawking volume is not, to my limited knowledge, a trait that is regularly selected for, this game does introduce the ideas of adaptations, genetics, and trait selection to young children in a context they can understand.
Idea from Anna McGhee, with many thanks!