Unit Plan: Field Study – The Wonder of Birds

Science / Grade 6

Big Ideas
  •  Multi-cellular organisms rely on internal systems to survive, reproduce, and interact with their environment. (Science 6)


  •  Systems
  • Organism
  • Interdependence
  • Survival
  • Adaptation
  • Reproduction
  • Interactions
  • Environment
  • Stewardship


Essential Questions

Students will keep considering…

  • How is form related to function in bird beaks?
  • What adaptations help a bird survive in its environment?
  • How do birds spend their time?
  • What interactions do you observe –between birds, and between birds and their environment?
  • Can birds be identified by a variety of features?
  • How do human impact birds and how can negative impacts be mitigated?
  • What is a system?
  • What does it mean to think using a systems approach?
  • How have I experienced ‘Systems’ at ODS? (e.g. how birds interact with each other and their environment)
  • How am I connected to ‘Systems’ in my everyday life?
Evaluative Criteria

Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding by:

  • correctly identifying bird species using a field guide
  • correctly aging taxidermy eagle specimens
  • matching bird beak types with types of food eaten
  • observing taxidermy bird specimens and pair share expected food type based on beak shape
  • completing a time study sheet after observing a bird’s behaviour
Monitoring Progress

Teacher will monitor progress:
Teachers can monitor progress through ongoing formative assessment including but not limited to:

  • N/A
  • BirdQuest Beaks Matching sheet
  • Binoculars – ideally one pair per student
  • Binocular Basics sheet  
  • Cheakamus Centre Bird Study map
  • Field guides to birds
  • Legends:

Keepers of the Earth – How Turtle Flew South for the Winter (p.157)

People of the Land: Legends of the Four Host First Nations – Smekw’á7 – The Great Blue Heron (p.75)

Squamish Legends: Seagull Raven and the Daylight Box

How the Robin Got Its Red Breast: A Legend of the Sechelt People – illustrated by Charlie Craigan.


Teacher Reflection

  • What aspects of the field study went well?
  • What did students struggle with?
  • What did you struggle with?
  • What would you add/revise the next time you taught this unit?
  • Were there any unintended outcomes?
  • Were students engaged?

Unit Overview






Field Study – The Wonder of Birds


Unit Overview

In this field study, students explore the ways birds interact with their environment and birds’ adaptions to maximize their ability to gain energy (food resources). Students investigate the connection between the form and function of bird beaks and feet. In the lab they will develop and test hypotheses about the best beak “form” for feeding on a variety of food substitutions. They identify taxidermy specimens of birds and hypothesize what they eat based on the shape of their beaks. Students then go into the field and make observations of birds. Through a time study, students observe how birds interact with their environment. Students learn to identify birds in the wild, and to determine the age of eagles (in season).





Unit Duration

2 hours


Related Big Ideas


The following resources are made available through the British Columbia Ministry of Education. For more information, please visit BC’s New Curriculum.

Big Ideas

The Big Ideas consist of generalizations and principles and the key concepts important in an area of learning. The Big Ideas represent what students will understand at the completion of the curriculum for their grade. They are intended to endure beyond a single grade and contribute to future understanding.

Visit the Ministry of Education for more information

Core Competencies

orangecommunicationCommunications Competency

The set of abilities that students use to impart and exchange information, experiences and ideas, to explore the world around them, and to understand and effectively engage in the use of digital media

bluethinkingThinking Competency

The knowledge, skills and processes we associate with intellectual development

greensocialSocial Competency

The set of abilities that relate to students’ identity in the world, both as individuals and as members of their community and society

Visit the Ministry of Education for more information

Curricular Competencies & Content

Curricular Competencies are the skills, strategies, and processes that students develop over time. They reflect the “Do” in the Know-Do-Understand model of curriculum. The Curricular Competencies are built on the thinking, communicating, and personal and social competencies relevant to disciplines that make up an area of learning.

Visit the Ministry of Education for more information

Additional Resources

First People's Principles of Learning

To read more about First People’s Principles of Learning, please click here.

For classroom resources, please visit the First Nations Education Steering Committee.