The Virginia science SOLs incorporate migration in the second, third and fourth grades. Students learn about the migration of birds, monarch butterflies, caribou, sea animals and various other creature. These animals travel by foot, swim, fly, or crawl to their destinations, in search of food or a milder climate. This post includes a variety of resources on these animals’ often long, dangerous journeys.
Home at Last by April Pulley Sayre; illustrated by Alix Berenzy – A beautifully illustrated book, Home at Last provides a lyrical text describing the migration of many animals. Illustrations done in pastel on black paper are paired with the description of these animals and their journeys. For example, a picture of a warbler in the night sky accompanies Sayre’s narration of the bird’s journey, guided by the starlight.
The Magic School Bus Goes Upstream by Joanna Cole; Illustrated by Bruce Degan and Nancy Stevenson – The Magic School Bus Goes Upstream explores the migration of a salmon. Ms. Frizzle takes the class on a ride upstream, following the path that a migrating salmon would take. The students learn that salmon migrate to a place where their eggs may hatch safely and they know how to find their destination by smell.
What is Migration? by John Crossingham and Bobbie Kalman – What is Migration? describes the migration of geese, salmon, turtles, ants and other animals. These descriptions are accompanied by photos. The book also has important terms in bold and a glossary in the back. This would be a great source for students to use for research or a report!
Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration by Marianne Berkes; illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio – Going Home explains the phenomenon of migration in poetic form. Its rhyming couplets are narrated by the animals themselves. This is an entertaining book, with some nice pictures. It also has a section in the back with descriptions of each of the animals in the book.
The Journey: Stories of Migration by Cynthia Rylant; illustrated by Lambert Davis – The Journey: Stories of Migration describes the migration of locusts, monarch butterflies, gray whales, American silver eels, caribou and Arctic terns. The book examines the mystery that is migration; how do these animals deal with such extreme distances and climate shifts? how do they know where to go? Rylant answers these questions, but still conveys just how amazing these animals’ instincts are!
- http://www.brainpopjr.com/science/animals/migration/grownups.weml#teachers – This website includes various activities for students and teachers. With a login and password, students can access a short movie about migration and other online games.
- http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/animals/birds-animals/waders-and-waterfowl/crane_sandhillmigration.html – The National Geographic website provides video clips of various animals. These clips include a couple 2-3 minute videos about the migration of the sandhill crane and the tundra swan.
- http://www.brainpopjr.com/science/animals/migration/grownups.weml#teachers – This site, as mentioned above, is also useful for teachers. It includes lesson plans on the topic of migration, such as a migration “act it out” activity.
- http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/LessonsOriginal.html - This website corresponds with the “Journey North” book, mentioned earlier. It asks students to think about why animals migrate.
- http://www.kidsgardening.com/growingideas/PROJECTS/mar04/migration.html – A lesson plan is designed to show why animals that migrate are subject to the threat of habitat destruction. This site demonstrates how migration can be very dangerous for animals.