All birds do not fly the same. For example turkey vultures can soar for hours without flapping a wing while hummingbirds flap their wings over 70 times a second as they hover and fly forward and backward.
Students will be able to:
- determine how different birds fly
- compare their arms to a bird's wing
- see if they can "flap" as fast as a bird
- To start, have everyone hold their arms straight out. Explain that their arms are very similar to a bird's wings. Both have:
- an upper arm bone connected to the shoulder
- an elbow that connects the upper arm to the forearm (lower arm)
- a wrist that connects the forearm to the hand
- gliding birds (vultures and gulls) have long inner wings compared to their small hand sections; the larger inner wing gives them the lift they need to soar without a lot of flapping
- birds (falcons) that must flap more have small inner wings and longer hand sections; the longer hand acts like a propeller and pulls the bird forward as it flaps
For Younger students . . .
- have the whole group come up and flap together
- encourage students to start with 20 flaps every 10 seconds to imitate a crow, then try a robin, a pigeon
- by the time students get to a starling they should find it impossible to keep up
For Older students . . .
- divide them into pairs and have one person keep time while the other flaps
Have your (older) students use the Wingbeat Chart to solve the following math problems:
- Which of these combinations would "make the most flaps"?
- 1 hummingbird flapping for 45 seconds
- 10 crows flapping for 65 seconds
- 4 kestrels, 1 chickadee, 1 owl, and 1 eagle flapping for 3 minutes
- 4 starlings flapping for 5 minutes
- If an owl, kestrel, and eagle each flew in the same direction going 30 miles per hour, how many times would each one flap if:
- the owl flew 15 miles
- the kestrel flew 45 miles
- the eagle flew 90 miles
- If a raven, kestrel, owl, vulture, chickadee, and hummingbird each flapped their wings for 20 seconds, how many total flaps would there be?
- How many wing beats would you get in one minute from:
- a hummingbird
- a chickadee
- a pigeon
Get the Solutions.
After your students have finished flapping, give each eight index cards and a copy of "Flappers." Then have the students make their own flapping motion picture cartoons.
- Cut the index cards in half to make 16 smaller cards. Each card should be exactly the same size.
- Cut out the pictures and glue each one to the bottom right-hand corner of each card. It is IMPORTANT to keep the pictures in the order they appear on the sheet.
- Arrange the cards one on top of the other, starting with #16 on the bottom and ending with #1 on top. Staple all the cards together — vertically down the far-left side. Three to four staples should do.
- Now you are done, flip through the cards quickly and make the birds "flap" and "fly."