Friday, November 03, 2006

Fill the Bill

Third graders from Williams Memorial Elementary School learned about bird bill adaptations through practical experience. They each had a bill type represented by either a stapler remover, an eyedropper, a nail, tongs, tweezers, or a clothespin. There were various food items represented by spaghetti, bowtie pasta, staples in cardboard, colored water, sunflower seeds, and raisins. Students kept their bill as they rotated through each station of food and attempted to "eat".

In the images, students are shown trying to "eat" individual sunflower seeds using stapler removers. The staple remover bill represented a bill found on raptors, which is designed to tear flesh and not eat seeds. Though the students had some success at this station, it was not their most efficient stop. Obviously, none of the bills worked well at all of the stations and some, like the eyedropper, only worked well at one station.

In the end, students saw that bird bills are adapted to exploit every niche. Additionally, they saw that if all birds shared the same diet, only a smaller population of bird could be sustained.

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