Unit Plan: Field Study – Birds

Science / Grade 4

Big Ideas


  • All living things sense and respond to their environment.

    Essential Questions

    Students will keep considering…

    • How have I experienced ‘Senses’ at  ODS? (e.g. how birds interact with  each other and their environment)
    • How am I connected to ‘Senses’ in my everyday life?
    • How do birds communicate with each other?
    • What interactions do you observe –between birds, and between birds and their environment?
    • How do human impact birds and how can negative impacts be mitigated?
    • How do living things sense and respond to their environment?
    • What does using my senses in nature look, sound, feel, taste and smell like?
    • How do my senses compare to the senses of other plants and animals?
    • How is sensing and responding related to interdependence within ecosystems?

    Evaluative Criteria


    Monitoring Progress

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

    • Class discussion
    • Group and pair discussions

    Assessing prior knowledge:

    “Step into the circle if…” birds. Gather students in a circle and tell them to step into the circle if the statement applies to them, then step back out.

    • You can name three species (ask them to define) of birds found in BC
    • You can name three things birds eat
    • You have ever used binoculars
    • You have seen a live eagle




    The Cornell Lab of Ornithology “Amazing Birds”

    Binoculars – ideally one pair per student

    Binocular Basics sheet

    Cheakamus Centre Bird Study map

    Laminated Cheakamus Centre Seasonal Field guides to birds

    Laminated Indigenous Ways of Knowing Bird Cards

    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.

    Beetles: I notice, I wonder, It reminds me of

    Beetles: Walk and Talk



    How will teachers and their students reflect on and evaluate the completed project?

    Teacher Reflection

    • What aspects of the unit 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?

    Stage 2 – Evidence

    Authentic Performance Tasks

    AUTHENTIC PERFORMANCE TASK: Assessing for Understanding

    Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding by:

    Walk & Talk or group discussion

    1. How do humans impact birds? (positively and negatively)
    2. How can humans help birds to survive?
    3. What could you do to help birds at home?
    4. How do birds communicate?
    5. What can we learn about birds by using our senses?

    > Click here to learn more about Performance Tasks


    What is a GRASPS task?

    > No GRASPS avaiable for this Unit Plan

    Other Evidence

    OTHER EVIDENCE: Assessing for Knowledge and Skills

    Students will show they have acquired Stage 1 knowledge and skills by:

    • demonstrating proper use of binoculars
    • recognizing different bird behaviours
    • working with a partner to use a field guide to identify birds
    • sharing observations on birds and how those observations aid in identification of species, or age (for bald eagles)
    • Walk and talk with a partner to share prior knowledge about birds and what they learned

    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.