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Environment & Society

Sample Lessons and Activities

Here you can find a variety of lesson plans and activities organized by topic. This page serves as a quick go-to resource if you are looking for an activity to demonstrate a certain concept. Please check back regularly as this material will continue to grow!

Some of these lessons are from external sources and are appropriately labeled.


  • Lesson: Functional Feet

    Objective: Students will study and observe differences in the foot structure of various birds by looking at pictures and watching birds outdoors.

    Source: Marja Steinberg, Glendale Elementary School

  • Lesson: Oil and Feathers

    Objective: Students will investigate the structure and functions of feathers and determine the effect of oil on the ability of feathers to float and regulate a bird’s temperature. Students will also discuss the effects of human actions on wildlife and propose strategies to prevent negative effects on wildlife.

    Source: Nebraska Partnership for All-Bird Conservation.

  • Lesson: Adaptation Artistry

    Objective: Students will identify and describe the advantages of bird adaptations and evaluate the importance of adaptations to birds.

    Source: Project WILD

  • Lesson: Bird Beaks

    Objective: To introduce students to the concept of adaptation in the local bird species.

    Source: UC Davis Arboretum Outdoor Education Program

  • Lesson: Adapt-a-Bird

    Objective: Students will observe birds in their habitat, sketching and writing their observations of different birds. 

    Source: Alabama Outdoor Classroom





Birds 101


Bird Biology

  • Lesson: In a Class of Their Own

    Objective: Students will learn about taxonomy and how birds are classified in this scientific system. 

    Source: The New York Times

  • Lesson: Fill the Bill

    Objective: Learn why each bird species has a special beak and tongue adapted to eating certain types of food.

    Source: Alabama Outdoor Classroom

  • Lesson: Birds of a Feather

    Objective: Students will distinguish the major classification of birds and their related characteristics.

    Source: Pennsylvania Audubon Society

  • Lesson: Birds and Worms

    Objective: Students will simulate how predators use their vision to find prey and describe ways animals use camouflage.

    Source: Pennsylvania Audubon Society

  • Lesson: Beaks and Tongues

    Objectives: Students will investigate variation in bird beaks, form and function and inferring possible bird food based on beak shape.

    Source: Pennsylvania Audubon Society


Birds and People

  • SONY DSC Lesson: Wander and Wonder- Investigating Animals

    Objective: Students will conduct a “wander and wonder” in a local park or school yard and observe their surrounding and how it may impact animals.

    Source: Julie Carroll, Northside Elementary


  • Lesson: No Water Off a Duck’s Back

    Objective: Students will identify ways oil spills can adversely affect birds and describe the negative consequences to wildlife, people and the environment.

    Source: Project WILD

  • Lesson: Lessons From the Lorax

    Objective: Students will compare and contrast a fictional story to modern society.

    Source: The Pennsylvania Audubon Society

  • Lesson: Changing the Land

    Objective: Students will simulate and explain how fragmentation of biological communities can affect wildlife diversity and populations. 

    Source: Project WILD

Bird of the Month

Click here for the Feathered Friends Activities provided by the Pennington and Cornell Lab of Ornithology



Climate Change



  • Lesson: What’s That, Habitat?

    Objective: Understanding the basic needs of birds and other wildlife.

    Source: Project WILD

  • Lesson: Bird Habitat Evaluation

    Objective: Students will demonstrate observational and data collection skills and gain a general understanding of food, habitat and water requirements of birds.

    Source: Pennsylvania Audubon Society



  • Lesson: Visualizing Bird Migration in Excel

    Objective: Students will learn about timing of migration and how to create, understand and interpret data presented in charts.

    Source: Dan Small, Center for Environment & Society, Washington College

  • Lesson: Migratory Mapping

    Objective: Students will learn about bird migration by drawing on a map the ranges and migratory routes of two birds. 

    Source: Pennsylvania Audubon Society

  • Lesson: Learning About Migration

    Objective: Students learn about migration and it fits into the life cycle of birds. 

    Source: Melissa Zeglin, Crystal Lake Elementary


  • Lesson: A Place for the Birds

    Objective: Learn about common birds of the area as well as in other parts of the county and bird migration.

    Source: The New York Times


Observing and Identifying Songbirds


  • Lesson: Dawn Chorus

    Objective: Students will describe why birds sing and learn call notes of at least two birds.

    Source: Pennsylvania Audubon Society

 Click here for the Homeschooler’s Guide to Project FeederWatch by the Pennington and Cornell Lab of Ornithology

 Songbird Research Techniques

Click here for the Evolution in Paradise lesson by the Pennington and Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Click here for the Investigating Evidence lesson by the Pennington and Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Click here for the Citizen Science Bird Quest lesson by the Pennington and Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  

Click here for the eBird data collection project by the Pennington and Cornell Lab of Ornithology.   

  • Lesson: Feeder Frenzy

    Objective: Students will identify common birds at the feeder, use scientific research methods and draw conclusions concerning birds and their diet.

    Source: Pennsylvania Audubon Society