Bird Beaks and What they Eat
Students identify ideal beak shape for food.
Upper primary (4th and 5th graders) assisted 1st graders
- Bird beak/food handout
- Dixie cups
- Wild grain rice
- Slotted spoons
- Cooked noodles (macaroni or similarly shaped)
- Gummy bears
- White rice
- Marshmallows (jumbo)
Ask students why birds have beaks and what they are used for - allow time for discussion. Read a book about beaks to the group. I used Birds Use Their Beaks by Elaine Pascoe. After reading, discuss what bird beaks are used for and see how this compares to what the students originally thought.
Then, discuss the five types of birds in this activity and what they generally eat. The birds included in this activity are hummingbirds (nectar), Mourning dove (seeds), ducks (aquatic bugs and animals), robins (berries), and eagles (meat). Show pictures of each bird and discuss the shape of the beak. (See file for images.)
Divide students up into groups and have them determine what kind of food is closest to what the birds actually eat and then which tool works best for that food. (Note that multiple tools might work for a type of food, so emphasize which works best.) The students should work in groups and put an "X" for the correct tool for each bird. Students should use dixie cups to represent the bird stomachs and move the food with the tool into their "stomach."
|Bird ||Food ||Our Food ||Tool |
|Hummingbird ||Nectar ||Juice ||Straw or pipette |
|Mourning dove ||Seeds ||Wild rice (black grains) ||Tweezers |
|Duck ||Aquatic bugs/animals ||Cooked noodles in water ||Slotted spoon |
|Robin ||Berries ||Gummy bears in white rice ||Chopsticks |
|Eagle ||Meat ||Marshmallow ||Scissors |
Have students discuss the type of bird beak and what makes that tool useful for eating which type of food.