- learn that mapping can be applied as a tool to render information; and
- educate others about backyard birds.
Students will complete a creative master map (example) that is a mural, map, exhibit, and display all rolled into one! The master map will integrate what students learn about birds from activities in this kit.
large piece of newsprint or Bristol board for map; crayons, pens and pencils; any supporting research material, such as graphs, illustrations, lists, or artifacts (e.g., bird’s nests)
Maps are often used in stories, such as in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, or are artistic interpretations of an area, such as an illustrated map. Although there are many different kinds of maps, they can be divided into three categories, as follows:
- General-purpose Maps: These maps don’t emphasize any one feature. They show a general view of an area, including features such as roads, cities, and rivers.
- Special-purpose Maps: These maps usually show a small area as in ocean charts used for navigation.
- Thematic Maps: These maps zero in on a single, specific topic. They can represent just about anything, such as the distribution of bird nests in your county, where bird-baths and birdfeeders are located in your neighbourhood, which birds visit your yard, and where berry patches grow in your community.
Practically any information can be depicted on a map in as creative a fashion as you wish. They can be complex or simple, technical or creative. Maps are a flexible tool. They can help to organize material, research, and observations, or to pinpoint problems.
This unit emphasizes thematic maps. In this culminating activity, mapping is employed to integrate what students have learned from activities involving their bird observation and identification, and habitat awareness and improvement, into a large, mural-size display.
- Tell students that they will be creating a large, mural-size master map that integrates information from all their learning about birds. It may include research, survey findings, and artwork, and even their recommendations about birds and bird habitat. The focus of the mapping activity can be whatever you choose.
- Brainstorm with students how they, as a group, could visually portray on a map some (or all) of their learning, research findings, and suggestions for ways to help backyard birds. Younger students might take an artistic approach to their collective map by drawing different birds they observed in their schoolyard. Older students might be inspired to integrate their information as the basis of an action plan to help conserve bird habitat.
- Divide your class into groups of five and ask each group to create rough sketches of what the map could look like in the form of a display. Urge them to consider how to incorporate music (tapes or CDs of bird songs), artifacts (feeders and nest boxes, pressed plants that benefit birds, seeds that nourish these feathery creatures), artwork, books, guides, and pamphlets on birds. Remind them that they can use arrows on their map leading to side-bars to display various kinds of information: graphs, charts, of survey results, illustrations, inset maps of breeding areas and flyways, information on predators, lists of threats to bird habitat and suggested activities to help solve the threats. Don’t forget interactive elements, such as including a bird quiz or playing the Backyard Bird card game contained in this unit.
- Have groups present their rough sketches and vote for the ideas that appeal most.
- Once the mapping display is complete, have students promote and celebrate it. Display the project where as many people as possible will see it, such as in a hallway, during an event, like parent-teacher night, or on another occasion that includes neighbours and friends.
- Have students create educational products, such as databases, a Web site, a bird guide book, or bird maps.
- Plan a habitat project and register in Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Habitat 2020 program.
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