Introduce the selection by asking students the following questions:
1. What do robins eat?
2. What kinds of animal foods do robins eat?
3. What kinds of plant foods do robins eat?
Create a Concept Map to organize facts about a robin?s eating
habits. Write the topic question on chart paper: What?s on
the Menu for Robins? List two categories below the topic:
Animal Foods and Plant Foods. Use the
chart prior to reading the selection to record students? predictions
and questions. (Activating Prior Knowledge, Making Predictions and
Asking Questions to Set a Purpose for Reading)
Invite students to think about the following questions before reading
1. Do you think robins eat the same kinds of foods year round?
Encourage students to share reasons for their responses.
2. Do you think robins that live in different places eat the
same foods? Encourage students to share reasons for their
Read "A Robin's
Menu Through the Seasons." Encourage
students to "mark up the text" by circling unfamiliar
words, underlining key words and phrases, and writing notes in the
margins. Invite them to underline sentences that reveal answers
to the preview questions.
Revisit the text to answer questions listed prior to reading. Ask
questions to facilitate students? work: Which questions were
answered by details in the text? What facts did the article reveal
about the eating habits of robins? Invite students to generate
more questions for further research. (Rereading for Text Details)
Have students reread the selection with a partner. Invite them to
create a Concept Map to organize facts from the article. Topic:
What?s on the Menu for Robins? Categories: Animal Foods and Plant
Foods. Have students summarize (orally or in writing) the
key ideas from the text using their concept map. (Summarizing Main
Ideas and Details in the Text)
Reread the third paragraph: Robins eat animals 42 percent
of the time and plants 58 percent of the time, say researchers Martin,
Zim, and Nelson in their book, "American Wildlife and Plants:
A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits."
Give each student a ten-by-ten piece of grid paper (100
squares). Ask students to create a grid that represents the percentage
by coloring in 42 squares for the amount of animal foods and 58
squares for the plant foods. (Making Math Connections)
Invite students to research the specific animals and plants listed
in the article by reading American Wildlife and Plants: A Guide
to Wildlife Food Habits by Martin, Zim, and Nelson. Encourage
them to locate other reference materials for further research. (Making
Journaling Questions (Making Inferences, Drawing
1. Which plants and animals from your neighborhood would you expect
a robin to eat? (Think about native plants and animals in your state
2. What kinds of trees and shrubs can be planted in your neighborhood
to provide nourishment for robins? (See Unpave
the Way for Robins)
3. What do robins eat when getting ready for migration?
(Answer from Ask the Expert: At winter?s end, robins eat a lot of
berries. They also eat as many worms as they can find at the start
of spring migration. In late summer and early fall they prepare
for migration by eating a lot of fruit and insects as well as worms.)
4. How do you think pesticides/insecticides affect robins that are
eating earthworms, insects, and plants?
5. How is a robin?s body adapted to its eating habits? Find facts
about the beak, esophagus, intestines, and other body parts that
help a robin digest large quantities of foods.
Making Connections: What kinds of plants do
(Making Text-to-Self Connections, Making Inferences, and Drawing
Conclusions) Reread the paragraphs about plant foods that robins
eat. Invite students to study plant foods typically found on our
dining tables. Spark their curiosity by asking the following questions:
1. Which foods listed in the reading selection can also be found
on our menu?
2. What kinds of plants do we eat? What parts of the plants do we
3. What parts of the country grow the different kinds of plants?
4. What plant foods are available year round? Which ones are more
5. At the grocery store some fruits and vegetables are labeled "organically
grown." What does this label mean?
(Identifying and Analyzing Text Structure)
Have students analyze the text structure of the reading selection.
Have them underline topic sentences in each paragraph. Encourage
them to identify detail sentences under each topic sentence. For
Topic sentence: A robin?s changing diet is a sure
sign of changing seasons.
In spring and summer, robins forage mostly on the ground in places
where the soil is rich and moist. That?s where earthworms and
2. In fall and winter, robins feed on berries and other fruit.
They find these foods on shrubs, trees, and vines of all kinds.
Invite students to use the topic sentences and detail sentences
to create an outline of the text.