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Birds That Fly

Create a colorful 3-Dimensinal bird that will actually fly!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to observe pictures of airplanes and birds. Discuss similarities and differences. Identify the basic parts that both birds and planes have: body, wings, tail, nose/beak, landing gear/feet. Discuss birds: varieties, color, size,shape, habitats, flight patterns.
    2. Students will make a paper airplane by folding a 12" x 18" (30.48 cm x 45.72 cm) white paper in half, in a horizontal fold. Pull one corner toward the center fold and crease. Repeat with the opposite side, creating a point at one end. Continue to fold a sharper point by pulling the straight creased edge toward the center fold; repeat. Fold the paper closed like a book. Bend each of the loose edges away from the center fold to create wings. Test fly the plane before adding bird characteristics. Use jumbo paper clips to increase weight on the nose/beak end if the flight pattern is not smooth and gliding.
    3. Using Crayola Construction Paper Crayons, students draw 3 equal isosceles triangles (triangles with two sides are equal in length). Students use Crayola Pointed Tip Scissors to cut. Continue to cut the shorter edge in a scalloped or fringed fashion for feathers. Embellish the feather designs using Construction Paper Crayons.
    4. Crayola Washable No-Run White glue can be used to attach the colored bird wings on the top of the folded airplane wings and the third triangle on the rear to create a stabilizing tail.
    5. Use Crayola pointed tip scissors and cut two 1" x 6" (2.54 cm x 15.24 cm) rectangles to represent the bird's legs. The legs can be attached to the belly of the bird/plane for landing gear. (Note: Allow glue to dry; this can also be reinforced with staples.)
    6. Add a triangle, or individual smaller rectangles, to create toes. Staple to the bottom of the bird's body.
    7. Students draw and cut another triangle out of construction paper. This will be used for the bird's beak.
    8. Use Crayola Markers to add details such as eyes, nostril on beak patterns and claws on toes. Use Crayola Construction Paper Crayons to color the bird's body.
    9. FLY! Use a tape measure to determine which bird flies the furthest distance. Adjust weight on beak/nose by adding/ removing jumbo paper clips to create a weight to pull the soaring bird.
    10. Students may graph the results. Compare varying birds' flight patterns and distance, examine the different bird/planes to determine WHAT makes the best design for flying.
  • Standards

    LA: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Represent and interpret data.

    SCI: Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.

    SCI: Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms.

    SCI: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

    SCI: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

    SCI: Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.

    VA: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.

    VA: Brainstorm multiple approaches to a creative art or design problem.

    VA: Apply knowledge of available resources, tools, and technologies to investigate personal ideas through the art-making process.

  • Adaptations

    Use colored construction paper and Construction Paper Crayons to create "official" birds from a particular US state (i.e. NC - red cardinal; NY or MO - Bluebird; IA and NJ - Goldfinch; MD- Baltimore Oriole).

    Create a garden habitat or large paper tree and display the birds.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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