ROBINS! Classroom Activities
Who is living in your back yard? Outside your front door?
Chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, mice, moths, bees, crickets, ants, spiders, toads, frogs fox, coyotes, chickadees, pigeons…ROBINS?
I hope Robins! How They Grow Up will encourage readers to take notice of the animal and insect life right outside their door. Since I started working on this book, I stop to watch and listen in ways I never did before.
Consider the questions below and then start making a map.
Robins in your neighborhood.
- Have you seen any robins lately?
- Where have you seen them?
- What time of year do you see them?
(This will depend on where you live.)
Where robins decide to hang out depends on availability of food.
If YOU were a ROBIN in your neighborhood…
…What would you eat?
Look around your neighborhood. Where do you think robins find food?
- Can you find: Ants? Moths? Spiders? Crickets? Worms? Caterpillars?
- Are there sources of fruit: Crabapple, berries?
- Which seasons is that food available?
Where would you find water?
A nearby stream, pond, puddle, bird bath?
What would make a good nesting site?
(Remember, nesting season is spring through mid-summer.)
Where do you think the robin babies can be hidden from predators and bad weather? Open sheds, garages, porches? Cornices, under eaves, deciduous trees or shrubs—like pine, spruce or hemlock? (I visited a school a few years back and noticed a nest in an air vent in the gym.)
Where would you hide?
- Who are predators of robins?
- What are other dangers for robins?
- Look for places where robins can take shelter from predators and bad weather.
- What kinds of trees are in your neighborhood? Which offer the best shelter?
Now that you’ve considered your neighborhood with the eye of a robin…
…Make a map!
(The map could be made by one person, a small group or an entire class)
You will need:
- The largest sheet of paper you can find.
- Pencils, markers and crayons.
- Draw a map of your yard…or school playground, or local park.
- Show buildings, streets, sidewalks, trees, shrubs, grassy areas. Color them.
- Mark places where you’ve seen robins or other birds.
- Show places where robins might find food.
- Have you seen other animals: squirrels, chipmunks, mice…?
As you make new observations, add them to your map. If you have a large enough piece of paper, you can add photos or drawings of the creatures you see. I decided to make a rough map of where I live. (See below.) I live in the country, so I’m surrounded by wildlife.
But there is plenty going on in the city too. My daughter lives on the top floor of an apartment building in a big city. She has a view of a large nest and over a few years has watched two families of crows being raised there. And one cold day, she noticed a squirrel taking over the empty nest for the winter.
Wherever you live, keep your eyes open; there’s a lot going on!
Interactive Robins Map
Mouse over any circle outlined in black… then click to see more!
Write a story from the point of view of a young robin.
Here’s a link to one of my favorite robin rescue stories:
What if YOU were one of those rescued robin babies?
Write the story!
Using the web to find information:
The Internet was a VERY useful tool when I was looking for photos of robins! I also found videos of eggs hatching, newborn chicks, parents feeding them.
Narrow the search by being more specific: ‘robin fledglings learning to fly’ , ‘robins finding food’ etc. I even tried: ‘robin hassling cat” and found a video!
A few useful websites:
From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
Information about many birds—includes audio of bird songs, a link to bird house plans and making a yard map.
All about robins: pages for kids, teachers, everyone! This is a website to explore.
Report your robin-sightings.
The learner.org site offers an Observation Checklist and tells how to report sightings.
Do you understand ‘Robin’?
Listen to robin-song recordings. (The Audubon site also has recordings.)
A gallery of robin photos: (You can select other birds too.)
Watch videos of a robin building a nest and a robin feeding its young.
Link to live bird cams! (They have links to a variety of nature-cams. Most interesting in the spring.)
and don’t miss…