Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

This lesson plan accompanies the BrainPOP topic, Birds, and can be completed over several class periods. See suggested times for each section.



Students will:

Activate prior knowledge about birds, such as characteristics they all share, why some migrate, who their predators are, etc.

Use critical thinking skills to identify how bird adaptations (e.g., hollow bones, wing shape, warm-bloodedness) solve various problems.

Demonstrate understanding through creative projects, such as making a movie, creating a meme, or coding a conversation with a bird.

Present projects and reflect on new understandings.



For background on the Birds topic, click the Full Description link below the movie player.

The INVESTIGATE and CREATE sections of the lesson require students to use Make-a-Map and Creative Coding projects. Assign the Birds Make-a-Map to the class in advance of the lesson.  



Approximate time: 20-25 minutes

Begin the lesson plan by activating students’ prior knowledge and making real-life connections.  Then show the movie to introduce the topic. 

  1. DISPLAY this Anchor Question on whiteboard and read it aloud: How do adaptations help birds survive? Tell students they will investigate this question over the course of the lesson and will return to it at the end.
  2. ACTIVATE BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE by having pairs or small groups share with each other what they know about birds, including how they’re able to fly, where and why they migrate, and more.
  3. READ ALOUD the description below the movie player.
  4. MAKE CONNECTIONS by asking students what they’ve noticed about birds. Remind students that birds have certain characteristics that help them survive. Ask them to think of ones they’ve observed before.
  5. WATCH the movie Birds as a whole class on the whiteboard. Turn on the closed caption option to aid in comprehension.


Approximate time: 20-25 minutes

Prompt students’ inquiry and critical thinking skills by having them find key details to build knowledge and understanding.


  1. Students open their Make-a-Map Assignment and select or create a problem/solution map. They type the question they will investigate at the top: What problem does each bird adaptation solve? 
  2. As students watch the movie again, they identify each bird adaptation (solution) and the problem it solves. Evidence can be text, images, and movie clips.  SUPPORT TIP: Help students by identifying one adaptation and the problem it solves, and modeling how to add it to the concept map. 

       3. Students SUBMIT their maps when they are done.




Approximate time: 45-60 minutes

Students demonstrate their understanding by synthesizing their ideas and expressing them through one or more of the following hands-on, creative projects.  They can work individually or collaborate. Remind them to use evidence from their concept maps in their creations.


  • Birds Eye View:  Imagine you’re a bird. Make a BrainPOP-style movie about what life is like from your point of view.   
  • Bird Meme: Code a meme that shares a fact about one bird adaptation. Make it funny if you can!
  • Bird Talk: Imagine if birds could talk! What would they tell you about themselves? Code a conversation with a bird in which you ask questions about its adaptations and the bird answers.  .  



Wrap up the lesson with student presentations and a final reflection on learning.

PRESENT: Students present their completed projects to their classmates. 

WRAP UP: Draw attention to the Anchor Question again: How do adaptations help birds survive? Students answer the question using their new knowledge.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments