Answers from the Hummingbird Expert
Tip: For the following activities, print the FAQ pages and cut them into strips so that each slip of paper contains a question and its answer.
Conduct an Ask the Expert discussion: Give each student 3-5 of the fact strips. Each student is responsible for the facts described on the strips he or she receives. Ask questions about the hummingbirds you are studying. The student with the strip that answers the question responds as the expert.
Group Related Questions: Invite students to sort the strips into groups of related questions. For example, How do hummingbirds build nests? Where do hummingbirds build their nests? How big is a hummingbird nest? These questions all relate to nesting. Encourage students to explain how they grouped questions.
Sort into Categories: Sort questions into the following categories: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? And Other. Students organize the strips of paper by the first word used in the question. Analyze the results: What type of question was asked the most? Least? Invite students to brainstorm additional questions.
Respond to Questions: Place strips in a box. Pull 1-2 questions each day. Have students respond to the questions orally or in writing. If the question is review, use their responses for assessment. If the question is new, invite students to make predictions and ask questions. Encourage them to find the facts on the Journey North website or other resources. Ask students to share their findings.
Journey North Jeopardy: Have students play "Journey North Jeopardy." Use the FAQ pages to create game show cards. Here are some sample cards: Clue Card: "Sleep-like state, when the hummingbird’s body temperature drops and heart rate slows down.” Contestant (student) response: "What is torpor?”
Create a Concept Map: Tape a large sheet of chart paper to the wall. Write categories for sorting the FAQ strips: Physical Characteristics, Life Cycle, Nesting Behavior, Adaptations, Migration, Habitat, etc. As a class, read aloud questions and decide where to place the strip on the Concept Map.
Game Board and Game Cards: Invite students to create a gameboard and game cards using the questions and answers. When players take turns throughout the game they must answer questions correctly in order to move ahead spaces on the board.
AlphaBoxes: Invite students to work in groups for this activity. Give each group a set of questions. Have them create AlphaBoxes: The ABC s of Hummingbirds. The alphabox is a graphic that contains 26 squares for the letters of the alphabet. Students collect facts from the FAQ pages. They write words, phrases, and fact sentences in each box.
AlphaAntics: Have students work in small groups for this activity. Give each group a set of questions with answers. Have them create an AlphaAntics picture book for young readers. Students use the facts to write and illustrate AlphaAntics sentences. For example, W is for Hummingbirds…because they have WINGS that can flap 200 times a second. E is for Hummingbirds …because hummingbirds usually lay two EGGS in the nest.
Create a Nonfiction Book: Create a classroom nonfiction book to share discoveries they’ve made during their hummingbird study. Invite students to choose two or three related questions. The questions become their focus for writing a page for the class book. For example, one student may choose questions about how hummingbirds build a nest for his or her page. Another student may choose to create a page that describes the physical characteristics of a hummingbird.
Create a Reference Book: Create a reference book for students to use throughout their Journey North adventure. Print out the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) and place them in a three-ring binder. Display the reference book at a learning center. Encourage students to create additional pages of questions and answers for the reference book.
Help Students Paraphrase Facts: Help students paraphrase facts revealed on the pages. Students build understanding by putting the facts in their own words. Be sure to check the paraphrased sentences for clarity and accuracy.
Assess Students' Knowledge: Assess students' prior knowledge about hummingbirds by listing questions from the FAQ's on chart paper. (Do not include the answers.) Invite students to make predictions about each question. Encourage students to add their own questions to the list. Revisit the questions as students learn facts throughout the unit.