Building Nests Mini-Lesson

Objective: Students will learn that different birds build different kinds of nests—and they use a variety of material in doing it.

Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Reading Level: Upper Elementary

Teacher Background

Nest building is a job with two parts that are done at the same time: collecting the materials and fashioning them into the finished nest. The 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 "Masterpiece in Mud" caption a good one to describe the Song thrush's nest? 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 to talk about the kinds of bird nests they've seen. Find out if anyone has seen one in an unusual location. Ask students if they think most bird nests take a long time to build. (Most will probably agree that they do because the bird can only carry a little bit at a time.)
  2. Write about it: Have students nominate a bird for "best nest builder." Students should describe why their bird should win the award-including details about the nest-building material the bird uses.

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 building nests by using each defined word in a sentence.



Nature's Weavers
Grade: 2 - 4
Have your students show their knowledge of bird nests with this drawing activity.



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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