Bluebirds are very particular about the habitat that they live in and the type of food they eat. Starlings, however, are very adaptable. They can eat many foods and nest in many places.
The game format is similar to musical chairs. Use two different colors of carpet squares or chairs to represent habitat where the birds can nest and find food. The squares/chairs are set up in two rows with backs together.
Designate half of the class as starlings, and the other half bluebirds(have the students wear nametags).
The starlings can nest on any carpet square/chair, while bluebirds can only nest on one color. Students move around the squares/chairs, and when some signal is given (i.e., teacher clapping hands, music stopping), they must find a spot to nest and eat. Any students without a square/chair, or on the wrong color, did not make it through that year.
At some point, remove some carpet squares/chairs, explaining that the land was cleared for a farm or shopping mall. Continue year after year, checking to see how many starlings and how many bluebirds are left.
The end result of the game will vary somewhat, depending on what colors of carpet squares/chairs you remove each year. Try taking away only bluebird habitat, stating that starlings can still live on the land that is turned into suburbs.
In a variation of the game, begin with only two bluebirds and two starlings. Use three carpet squares, one for bluebirds and starlings, and two for just starlings. Play the game again, but this time, add one bird for every bird that successfully nests that year (i.e., after the first round, if one bluebird and two starlings survived, then add one more bluebird and two more starlings). Also add some habitat.
Which reproduces faster, the starling or the bluebirds?
Why Learn About Endangered Species?
Now, more than ever, an increasing number of animals on our planet are in danger of extinction. From 1 BC to 1800 AD, an average of one animal species became extinct every 55 years. From 1900 to the present, one species became extinct every year! The reason for this drastic increase in animal extinction lies in the fact that the world’s population is increasing at a rapid pace.
As the human population continues to rise, so does the continual need for resources to support it. As a result of meeting human needs for food, shelter, and fuel, there is often less room for wildlife to survive in their natural habitats. These animals, found all over the world, now make up an ever-growing list of the endangered species. Even animals in our home state are members of the endangered species list. It is estimated that by the year 2020, twenty percent or more of the plants and animals on earth will be threatened with extinction.
- Certain species of animals have become extinct because they failed to produce enough young to keep pace with the death rate.
- Extinction may have occurred as a result of natural conditions(for example, the dinosaurs) or as a result of human intervention.
- Humans have caused animals to become extinct or endangered by:
- destroying natural habitats
- introducing exotic invasive species that outcompete with native species
- using pesticides
- using skins, feathers, or other animal parts for clothing or fashion accessories
- keeping exotic animals as pets
Individuals CAN make a difference in helping endangered species.
Adapted from: www.kidszoo.org, Endangered Species- A Teacher’s Resources, Grades 6-8, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Activity Packet
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– Pearl S. Buck