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Science - 4th Grade
Standard 5 Objective 3
Students will understand the impact of the wetland environment on the migration of birds.
Migration is a seasonal movement from one area to another, usually a breeding and a non-breeding area. Migration allows birds to take advantage of the seasons. Most migrant birds spend only two to four months of the year on their nesting grounds. The majority of the year is spent elsewhere.
Not all birds migrate. Some find the resources they need throughout the year; others switch to different food sources as the seasons change, and a few become inactive during lean times.
Research shows that approximately 75 percent of the bird species in the state of Utah (about 300) are dependent on the corridors of trees and shrubs that grow along streams and rivers throughout the state. Areas like the Jordan River are especially important. Local biologists suspect that about 150 species of birds in Utah absolutely require riparian habitat. If this habitat disappears from our state, these 150 species of birds will disappear with it. In the western United States we have less than five percent of our riparian habitat remaining in its natural condition. Because western riparian habitat is scarce and rapidly becoming more so, wetland areas are of vital importance to breeding and migrating birds. The Jordan River offers a migration and habitat corridor between Utah Lake and the Great Salt Lake, and a biological sanctuary between Utah's western desert and the Wasatch Range. This area is known as the Great Salt Lake flyway, and is a crucial stopover for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds each season. The Great Salt Lake has been identified as a vital link in an international chain of sites that provide critical habitat for birds.
1. Use a Science Process and Thinking Skills
2. Manifest Science Interests and Attitudes
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Pre-Assessment/Invitation to Learn
Ask students to imagine that the next time they, or their parent, went to the grocery store, it has disappeared. What would they do? Go to another store? What would happen if the next store they tried has also gone? Where would they get their food? How would this affect their behavior?
Because wetlands are so important to birds, they are often called "quickie marts" or places where they can get a "snack" that will help them as they travel. When these areas disappear, it causes problems for them, just like it would for humans if all the grocery stories and "quick stop" places were no longer around.
Discuss with the students the importance of wetlands. On a map have the students point out the biggest wetland in the state (The Great Salt Lake). Make an overhead of the Wetland Quiz and cover the answers. Record students answers. After the migrating activity, go back and review questions. Do the students change their answers? Reveal the answers. Discuss how transportation and urban development are destroying wetlands.
Students should be aware of the importance of wetlands. Make a list of the important reasons on a large piece of paper to be posted in the classroom.
Fine Arts/Visual Arts-
Homework & Family Connections
Encourage families to find an area that might contain a wetland and then go on a hike. Develop a scavenger hunt as a way for family members to focus on different aspects of the area.