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WHAS - Bird Lists and Wildlife Sightings

Winter lessons for middle school grade

The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has a program that provides lessons focused on the interactions between humans and wildlife for students in 6th - 8th grade.

“Counting Birds for Science”  takes learners into the world of birding and community science. Students explore sighting numbers from the Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count, and gather, graph, and analyze data about birds in their area.

This lesson emphasizes the importance of community science for gathering and recording large amounts of data and observing long-term trends. Educators have the option of birding as a one-time lesson or to gather data over time for a more robust student experience. Though the lesson highlights the Christmas Bird Count, the lesson could also be taught in the spring or fall.  

The lesson is aligned with Common Core State Standards in math and Next Generation Science Standards in life science. Students record, graph, and analyze data and identify trends based on resource availability and interactions with other species. 

"Trafficking Wildlife"  lets students explore the  multi-billion dollar, illegal industry of wildlife trafficking. 

Students take the roles of WDFW detectives and enforcement officers who work to protect regional and international wildlife. Teachers and parents can choose to include a career profile of a WDFW detective. Students read two cases studies of wildlife trafficking in Washington and create their own project informing their community how they can avoid supporting wildlife trafficking practices and help promote the sustainability of wildlife populations.

The lesson encourages critical thinking skills and is rooted in Next Generation Science Standards in life science, as well as Common Core State Standards in writing, and an Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction environment and sustainability standard. 

Details are available on the WDFW website.

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