Observational Skills and Spectrogram Lesson Plan: Bird Song Hero Game

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In this Bird Song Hero lesson plan which is adaptable for grades 2-8, students use their observational skills to match each bird song to its corresponding spectrogram (a visual representation of the song pattern.) Students then create their own spectrogram and extend their practice in matching sounds to visual representations.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Use observational skills to match each bird song to its corresponding spectrogram (visual representation of an audio sound.)
  2. Work collaboratively to create a spectrogram.
  3. Match student-created spectrograms to the correct audio recording.


  • Computers with internet access for BrainPOP's GameUp
  • LCD projector for projecting the game
  • One computer with Audacity installed for each small group of students

Lesson Procedure:

  1. As a warm up, have students discuss with a partner or write about the importance of observations in science experiments and investigations. Why is it important for scientists to have good observational skills? What tools do scientists use to help them observe and record data?
  2. Tell students they will have the opportunity to hone their observational skills through a sound matching game that will help them appreciate & visualize bird song.
  3. Play the two minute Bird Song Hero Video Tutorial to introduce students to the concept and game.
  4. Reinforce the vocabulary term spectrogram that was introduced in the tutorial, and how it helps us visualize song patterns and commit them to memory.
  5. Project the game for students to see, and play the first round (6 questions) together as a class. Have students vote on which spectrogram they think is correct, and invite volunteers to explain their thinking or justify their responses.
  6. Challenge students to play Round 1 and Round 2 independently or with a partner on their own devices, and try to improve their scores.
  7. Challenge students to work in small groups to create their own spectrogram using a tool like Audacity.
  8. Turn students' work into a whole class game! Divide students into the same teams they worked with to create their spectrograms.
  9. Display the spectrograms created by each group in the class. One by one, play the sound recording for each group. Challenge students to work with their teams to identify the correct spectrogram for each sound recording. Which team can use their observational skills to get the most amount of matches?

Extension Activity:

Want to teach students about the X and Y axis on a spectrogram? Check out this additional lesson plan from the creators of Bird Song Hero.