A fun, practical lesson shows Year 4 girls how birds are adapted to their environment.
The students in Year 4 have been learning how animals have adapted to their habitat to ensure they receive the best protection and food sources for their needs, indeed their very survival. Now, they are looking physically at birds to see how their bills and beaks have evolved to allow them to manipulate their food.
A bird’s beak can vary in shape and size depending on the nature of their diet, the girls learnt. Hummingbirds have probe beaks for drinking nectar from flowers, for example, whereas the beak of a duck is flat to allow it to scoop up fish and plants and drain out water. An eagle, by comparison, has a more tearing beak for eating its prey.
In a practical lesson to see first-hand how the shape and size of a bird’s beak or bill determines its choices and limitations when it comes to food, the girls undertook a timed challenge. They had just two minutes to collect as many chickpeas as they could with both sharp and blunt forceps. Within another two-minute window, they repeated the process but this time with rice grains.
After counting and recording the number of chickpeas and rice grains they had managed to collect in both challenges, they were able to deduce which beak – sharp or blunt – works best for which type and size of food.