Lesson Plan: Beak, Wings & Feet

Last updated: November 20, 2017

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Lesson Plan Beaks, Wings and Feet

A kinder alternative to chick hatching projects in school classrooms

Technology Level: Tech based.

Audience: Ages 9-13/ Grades 6-8

Duration: One 70 minute lesson or two 35 minutes lessons


Acquire knowledge of animals’ physical, behavioural and social characteristics. Students will be able to explain how certain physical characteristics (wings, beaks, feet) of an assigned bird species are adapted to the bird’s diet, habitat and survival. Students will research physical characteristics of birds and report their findings in a written exercise, illustration and oral presentation.

Prior knowledge

Internet research skills essential.


  • The Internet (books optional)
  • Paper, colouring in pencils


  1. Lesson Plan
  2. Group instructions
  3. Beaks, wings and feet individual research questions


Lesson Procedure
Topic Notes
1. Introduction  
1.1 (10 mins) 1.1 Open a class discussion about the characteristics of birds. Brainstorm ideas on the board. See if they can come up with a list of different kinds of birds. Think: pets, wildlife and farm animals. What do they all have in common? Beaks – Wings – Feet!
2. Body  
2.1 (35 mins)

2.1 Divide your class into groups of three students.

Assign each group a bird to research – or alternatively students can choose their own .

Suggested Birds for Study -The following birds have been selected for study because their physical features are particularly interesting. Information about these birds is also easily obtainable from the web or books (please note that pet birds and farm birds are also have lots to offer!).

  1. Parrot
  2. Duck
  3. Wren
  4. Pelican
  5. Topic Bird
  6. Eagle
  7. Magpie
  8. Bowerbird
  9. Brush Turkey
  10. Kingfisher

Provide each group with one set of instructions (Resource 2) and each student with the list of questions (Resource 3) that pertain to his/her assigned bird feature.

Some useful websites that should help are included in Resource 4 (you could write these up on the board or photocopy onto an Over Head Transparency).

Each group member is responsible for researching one feature of their bird: beak, wings or feet.

Instruct students to write their answers on the sheet provided and illustrate the bird’s beak, wings or feet on separate pieces of paper.

Let the students know that all groups will give a brief oral presentation about their bird to the class, using their paper illustrations and answers to the questions as visual aids. Alternatively you could have the students prepare a Powerpoint presentation or poster of their findings.

2.2 (10 mins)

2.2 Get the students to go back to their original groups to collate their findings. They will need to check that all the information has been found and that their ‘checklist’ from the group instructions (Resource 2) have been ticked off.

Give the students some time to organise their presentation that they will give to the rest of the class.

3. Conclusion


3.1(10 mins)

3.1 Report back!

Each student is to choose the most interesting fact that they discovered and report back to the rest of the class.

3.2 (5 mins)

3.2 Class discussion – beaks, wings and feet.

What other things did you discover as you researched your bird?

Did students discover if their bird needs help (i.e. is it endangered)?

What can people do to help birds?

Why are birds important to the environment?

Why do they need our protection?

Curriculum Links

Queensland Curriculum Links

Curriculum Links for this lesson
Key Learning area Curriculum link

Life and Living
LL 2.3 Students make links between different features of the environment and the specific needs of living things.
LL 3.1 Students draw conclusions about the relationship between features of living things and the environments in which they live.
LL 3.3 Students describe some interactions (including feeding relationships) between living things and between living and nonliving parts of the environment.


Reading and viewing
CU 2.1 Students adopt established roles when working in groups; and identify and include supporting details related to topic when listening, and when presenting short prepared personal recounts and information reports to well known audiences.

CU 2.3 Students include supporting details related to the topic, when writing and shaping simple stories, personal recounts, instructions and information reports.

CU 3.2 Students select texts for specific reading and viewing purposes, and identify main ideas and make connections with supporting details in narratives, procedures, reports and expositions.

Suggested Homework Activities

  1. What animals are birds thought to be evolved from? Research this topic tonight for homework. Some good websites include:

Suggested Extension Activities

  1. Research how humans can help birds using the Queensland’s Environmental Protection Agency website:

Suggestions for Adapting this Lesson for Lower or Higher Year Levels

This lesson could be adapted to suit lower level students – find a picture of your bird online- write a description of the beaks, wings and feet to match the picture.


Lesson plan adapted from material published in For the Birds!, – Activities to Replace Chick Hatching in the K – 6 Classroom, NAHEE, 1998 (the youth education division of the Humane Society of America). Teachers are encouraged to reproduce this material for distribution to other teachers. Reproduction for sale or publication is prohibited.


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