Bird Beaks

Katherine Hill Helen J. McCorkle
4421 S State Street
Chicago IL 60621


This lesson is designed for students in grades kindergarten through third.
The main objective of this Mini-teach is to show students that many
different birds can live in the same geographical area because they are
adapted to eat different organisms.

Students will be able to:

1. Compare the feeding habits of birds to their physical traits.
2. Expain that many varieties of birds can use the same habitat for
gathering food because of adapting traits (i.e. beaks).

Materials Needed:

Per class (divided into 4 groups according to beak types):

1. Scissors
2. Spoons
3. Tweezers
4. Clothes pins (chop sticks)
5. 500 pennies (washer slugs)
6. 500 round beads (marbles)
7. 2 packages toothpicks
8. Cups (one per student)
9. Chart paper and felt pen
10. Crayon and white construction paper


1. Introductory Information:
1. Background:
Previous lesson on birds
Classification of birds by beaks
2. Make Bird Beak Chart
2. Discussion on beaks; their shape, uses and food adaptation.
3. Two sheets of paper and crayons will be given to each student in all
four beak groups.
4. Each bird beak group will draw and color the beak of their bird group.
5. Introduce game and discipline procedures
1. Game overview: To be played outdoors in defined lawn area, size
determined by teacher.
2. Group students equally into 4 beak types (scissor group, spoon
group, tweezer group, clothes pin group).
3. Pass out "beaks" and one cup (to represent bird's stomach) to
each student. Each student gets one type of beak and must keep
it throughout the game.
4. Students hold beaks in hand (not mouth).
5. Feeding Procedures:
1. Teacher throws out handfuls of penny bugs. All students
will pick up "bugs" with their "beaks" and place them in
their cup (no hands or scooping with cup).
2. Students must wait for a signal to begin before
collecting food. Teacher calls time to end.
3. Students assemble in their beak type groups, put their
pennies together, total, and record group total on chart.
4. Repeat feeding procedure (above) using worm toothpicks,
then bead seeds.
5. Finally throw out all three items together as before and
have the students pick up whatever they want. (By now
they know what they are adapted to pick up.)
6. Again, total in groups and list on chart.
7, Return to class to dicuss findings.

Performance Assessment:

At the conclusion of the Mini-teach, students will be able to answer the
following questions:

1. Can you classify birds according to the four beak types?
2. Do birds have teeth in their mouth?
3. Do birds use their beak for purposes other than eating?
4. Does the shape and size of a bird's beak decide what can be eaten by
that bird?
5. Are birds adapted to certain geographical areas according to beaks?
6. Can all birds use their beak to eat any organisms?
7. How does the bird's feet help him to eat?
8. Which beaks are best adapted to pick up the different items?
9. Why can a large variety of birds eat in the same geographical area?


Students will be able to understand and compare the feeding habits of birds
to their physical traits. Students will also be able to explain that many
varieties of birds can use the same habitat for gathering food because of
adapting traits (i.e. beaks).

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