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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

This lesson is divided into three sections:
Prep-- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps-- Conducting the Lesson.
Tips-- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


The following materials are recommended:
  • Composition books (one per student)
  • Atlas (one or two per class of students)
  • Maps (one or two per class of students)
  • One large wall map
  • Charting supplies (colored pens, rulers, pushpins, colored yarn, etc.)
  • Computers with access to the WWW (ideally, one per group of three students)

Computer Resources:
You will need at least one mulitmedia computer workstation with Internet access. We recommend, as a minimum, using Macintosh II series running System 7.0 or higher, or a 386 IBM-compatible PC running Windows 3.1 or higher. We also recommend a minimum modem speed of 14.4K bps, though 28.8K bps is preferable.

Bookmark the following sites:

  • Monarch Butterfly.
    Provides day-to-day information about the Spring migration north. Additionally, includes numerous activities for students to complete involving estimation, language arts, and simple biology, and their ties to the butterfly population.

  • Project Monarch Butterfly
    This is designed for elementary students. Very up-to-date and contains data relating to various Monarch projects. Created with the cooperation of the National Wildlife Association. Also discusses tagging and includes an area for Frequently-asked-questions.

  • Sandhill Crane Migration Update.
    Gives monthly updates of Sandhill Crane migration and flock activities. Can be used for a longitudinal study or a quick snapshot of migration habits and activities.

  • Sandhill Cranes ... Wings over the Platte.
    Displays the activities of a flock of over 200,000 Sandhill Cranes. Provides numerous links, maps, and chronological data.

  • Birds of Cyprus.
    The Island of Cyprus is on the North-South migration route of various bird species. This contains relevant information about birds (and butterflies) that migrate through Cyprus including their migration timing, specific behaviors, and routes.

  • Wild Wings: Heading North.
    Excellent site which allows you to pick a goose and follow it on its northern Migratory route. Map its trip, view an actual scientist's field journal, and find migratory animals near you! Includes graphics, maps, pictures, and data tables (in addition to text).

  • Whale Times: Fishin' for Facts-Gray Whales.
    This is geared toward children. Provides information and facts about the life and habits of the Gray Whale. Also allows students to access information about other whales and migratory actions.

  • Kidproject: Kid link - whale watching.
    Text-based site which chronicles actual whale observations made by students, and which allows the site visitor to see and discover migration habits, actions, and life cycles of the whale population.

  • WhaleNet - "Rat" Unit.
    Provides information about numerous whales and their migratory actions. Follows the movements of a specific whale named "Rat." Maps, movement data, locations, and habits of other groups of whales can be found at this site.

  • Virtual Whales.
    Site provides information about the behaviors of Humpback Whales. This site has excellent graphics, numerous pictures, virtual reality graphics, maps, and data to be downloaded and/or saved.


    1. Introduce and define the term "migration," and ask students to brainstorm about the kinds of animals that migrate. Ask students to share their ideas with the class in a discussion format. Compile a list of animals that migrate based on the students' answers. Write the definition and list on white/black board or large sheet of paper. Ask the students to work in pairs and discuss why animals migrate. Ask students to ponder the questions: If you could migrate, where would you go? Why? Have students share their responses with the class.

    2. Distribute composition books to the students. Tell students that the composition books will be used as research journals. Have them place their names on the cover and the title of the investigation. Have students write the definition of migration and the list of animals that migrated in their composition books. Demonstrate how to use a Search Engine. Do an initial search on one or two animals.

    3. Divide students into groups of 2 or 3 (however you choose.) Assign one animal to each group to research. Have students write the name of their animal on the cover of their journal. Have each group use Web search engines to gather information about animals that they are assigned and record the information in their journals (habitat, niche, predators, diet, etc.).

    4. Using a large wall map, explain how different areas of the world have different climate zones based on geographical characteristics. Have each group of students come up to the map and present the information they have found about their migrating animal. Next, have the group map the migration of the animal on the large wall map. After all student groups have presented their findings, discuss common migrating patterns with the class. Topics to discuss include similarities and differences in migration patterns, reasons for migration, and seasons of migration.


    Working in Groups
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your classroom into groups. Instruct some groups to do paper research or write in their journals while a smaller group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc. from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through a Web search, taking turns looking for migrating animals. Rotate groups.

    Looking for Web Resources Together as a Class
    If you have a large monitor or projection facilities, you can do an Internet search together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen. Do an Internet search and bookmark the pages that you and your students think are helpful. Go to a search engine page, allow your students to suggest the search criteria, and do an Internet search. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful. Your class may refer to these later.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three or less is ideal for this lesson. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time (see Prep) and make suggestions, this way you can be sure that students have a starting point.

    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students