ALEX Classroom Resource


Birds, Feathers, and Oil

  Classroom Resource Information  


Birds, Feathers, and Oil


Content Source:

National Geographic
Type: Lesson/Unit Plan


In this lesson, students are introduced to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Through a hands-on simulation, students explore how birds are affected by oil and how wildlife rescuers help oiled birds.

Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 3
12 ) Evaluate engineered solutions to a problem created by environmental changes and any resulting impacts on the types and density of plant and animal populations living in the environment (e.g., replanting of sea oats in coastal areas due to destruction by hurricanes, creating property development restrictions in vacation areas to reduce displacement and loss of native animal populations).*

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
E4.11: Humans depend on their natural and constructed environment. Humans change environments in ways that can either be beneficial or detrimental for themselves and other organisms.

NAEP Statement::
L4.4: When the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce; others die or move to new locations.

NAEP Statement::
L8.7: The number of organisms and populations an ecosystem can support depends on the biotic resources available and abiotic factors, such as quantity of light and water, range of temperatures, and soil composition.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect; Systems and System Models
Disciplinary Core Idea: Unity and Diversity
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Make a claim about the merit of an engineered solution to a problem caused when the environment changes, which results in changes in the types of plants and animals that live there.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Problems/solutions
  • Effects
  • Claim
  • Merit
  • Engineered solutions
  • Environmental changes
  • Density of plant and animal populations
  • Environmental impacts
  • Habitats
  • Organisms
  • Transform
  • Create
  • Ask
  • Imagine
  • Improve
  • Plan
  • Engineering design process
Students know:
  • Engineers design solutions to solve problems created by environmental changes.
  • Changes in the environment may affect the physical characteristic, temperature, or availability of resources in a place.
  • Changes in the environment affect some organisms' ability to survive and reproduce, cause others to move to new locations, yet others to move into the transformed environment, and cause some to die.
  • Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affect the plants and animals living there.
Students are able to:
  • Identify problem created by environmental changes.
  • Make a claim about an engineered solution to a problem created by environmental changes.
  • Identify the effects of solutions to a problem created by environmental changes that impact the plants and animals living in the environment.
  • Communicate evidence to support the claim about an engineered solution to a problem created by environmental changes.
Students understand that:
  • That plants and animals within an environment make up a system, and changes to one part of the system impacts other parts.
  • Engineers design solutions to problems created by environmental changes that sometimes impact the plant and animal populations found there.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Heredity and Diversity

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.3.12- Predict the effect of a simple change in habitat on a plant or animal (e.g., lack of water, lack of plants).

Tags: birds, environmental change, feathers, oil spill
License Type: Custom Permission Type
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Author: Stephanie Carver