Title: Birds' Beaks
(Note: This is a one day lesson designed for Mrs.
Carralís 2nd Grade Bilingual class at Grant Elementary School, Trenton, NJ.)
Goal for Students:
The students will identify certain body parts of different animals. The
students will also explain how the animalís body parts help it to capture food.
As a class, the students will make a chart to compare three animals and how they
use their body parts to get their food. The students will also infer what
type and size of food a bird eats by the shape of its beak. In addition,
students will pretend to eat like a bird by using various tools that mimic the
shape of a birdís beak (e.g. tweezers and a slotted spoon).
|the students will identify different types of animals and
the body parts used to capture and eat food/prey|
|the students will compare and contrast using different
sized/types of beaks to pick up various types of food|
|the students will be able to explain in their own words in
their science journals which beak worked best for each type of food and why
they think that beak worked the best|
To begin this lesson, we will ask the students to close their
eyes and imagine being a bird that is searching for food. We will then
ask: What would you eat? How would you eat it? Would you grab it
with your mouth/beak or would you grab it with your claws? The students
will then open their eyes and discuss what they saw, ate, and how they ate their
During the next part of our lesson, we will divide the class
in four groups and have them go to their designated stations. (Each group
will have either 4 or 5 students.) First, the students will examine the
tools and food at each station and hypothesize in their science journal (and
verbally with other group members) which mouth they think will work best for
picking up which kind of food. Next, at each station, the students will
pretend each tool (the slotted spoon and tweezers) is a birdís mouth and the
peanuts and rice are bird food. The students will then take turns within
their groups trying with each tool to pick up a piece of food. They will
record in their science journal what tool worked best for what type of food.
Next, as a class, we will verbally discuss if the shape of a birdís beak
determines the type of food that bird eats. Students will then take out
their science textbook and turn to page A26 to see examples of birds and various
types of beaks.
On page A28, the students will see pictures of different
animals and the different types of body parts they use to capture food. We
will ask them to identify the body parts that help animals capture food.
We will then make a chart on the board that lists several different animals and
identifies the body parts they use to get their food. Lastly, we will
recap and review/ask what was learned during this lesson. We will also
ask: What else are you interested in learning about animals?
We will review with the students how they were able to physically manipulate the
simulated beaks to come up with their conclusions that birds with narrow or
small beaks tend to eat smaller food/prey while birds with larger or wider beaks
tend to eat bigger food/prey. This will help the students to have a more
concrete understanding of why the shape of a birdís beak can predict the type of
food that bird will eat. In addition, they will have more awareness of why
animals are shaped differently and/or have different body structures.
We will assess the studentsí comprehension by checking over their recorded
results. If their recorded results look similar to the ones listed below,
we will know that they understood this investigation.
Possible Science Journal Entry:
I think the tweezers will be able to pick up the rice just as the long narrow
beak can pick up small food. I think it would be very hard for the slotted
spoon to pick up the rice just as a bird with a big beak would have trouble
picking up small food.
Chart on Board:
Body Part that Aids in Capturing Food
Talons, or claws, on its feet
Long neck and long legs
Type of Food It Eats
Leaves at the tops of trees
Plants in water
Badders, William, et al. Science Discovery Works. Boston: Houghton