In this unit, students launch their learning about birds by focusing on their physical features. Students consider the unit guiding question, "What makes a bird a bird?", as they begin to grow their research skills as they research the different physical characteristics of birds. In the first part of the unit, students read an engaging Mystery Riddle and explore mystery pictures to stir their inquiries about the topic of birds. As the unit progresses, students begin their research about the physical characteristics of birds as they listen to the texts, Just Ducks by Nicola Davies and Birds (Scholastic Discover More) by Penelope Arlon and Tory Gordon-Harris. As students read these two texts, they build background knowledge and develop their skills as readers of informational texts. In addition to reading, students participate in structured conversations, observational drawing, role-play, music, and movement to demonstrate their emerging understanding of birds.
Students are also provided opportunities to display their growing knowledge of birds as they write and create scientific drawings in their Birds Research notebook. Along the way, students learn about empathy and its place in the feedback process. For the Unit 1 Assessment, students answer a series of questions after a read-aloud of two pages in Birds (Scholastic Discover More) (RI.1.5 and RI.1.3). This assessment mirrors exercises completed as a class with other pages in the book.