Bird Beaks Mini-Lesson

Objective: Students will learn how the shape of a bird's beak helps it get and eat food.

Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Reading Level: Upper Elementary

Teacher Background

Flight enables birds to cover great distances in search of food. This gives them a big advantage as predators, because few animals—on land or MORE

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Print or Project

  1. A Visual Overview: Show the slideshow of photos to your class. Each has a descriptive caption and kid-friendly copy for your students to read. (Please note that there is also more extensive teacher note copy just for you.)
  2. Creative Caption Review: Once you've been through the slideshow for an overview, go back through it again. This time ask students to explain why the captions do (or do not!) work. (Example: Is the "Underwater Sieve" caption a good one to describe the function of the flamingo's beak? Why or why not?)

Click the thumbnail slides below to see the captions and kid-friendly copy up close.

  1. Continue the Conversation: Ask students what other kinds of bird beaks they might've seen. Have them predict what kind of beak a buzzard might have (hooked since it's a meat-eater). Ask if they've seen a tiny hummingbird. Can they tell why the shape of its beak is suited to what the bird eats? (It's long and slender to fit inside a flower so the bird can drink nectar.)
  2. Write about it: Have students "invent" their own bird. Have them list what the bird eats and describe how the bird's beak is adapted to getting this food.

Extension Activities

Reinforcements: These worksheets will be useful as you further develop your teaching unit. The Word Power worksheet will give your students vocabulary practice with key terms from this mini-lesson and the related activity will help reinforce key concepts on birds.


Word Power Vocabulary
Grade: 4 - 6
Students practice vocabulary relevant to birds and beaks by using each defined word in a sentence.



How Do Birds Adapt to Eating?
Grade: 4 - 5
In this hands-on lesson, children learn how birds' beaks have adapted to aid them in eating.



Excerpted from:

Eyewitness: Bird

An in-depth, comprehensive look at the world of birds with a unique integration of words and pictures.

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