Keywords: bird, habitat, nest, American goldfinch, American robin, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, song sparrow; Prepared by: JoAnne Venturino, first grade teacher, Our Lady of Victory School, State College, PA; Grade Levels: first and second grades; Time Required: 45 minutes; Setting: classroom; Subjects: science, reading comprehension, and writing; Topic: bird habitats

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will identify local birds and their habitats by making a diorama and writing a three- to four-sentence description.

Materials Needed

  • enlarged color pictures of the birds learning about
  • shoeboxes, construction paper, clay, glue scissors
  • materials to make nests
  • check bird chart, page 6 in 4-H guide
  • writing paper
  • pencil
  • copy of 4-H Members Guide: Wildlife Is all Around Us, Book 3: Summer (Contact Natural Resources Extension to order copies, include title of publication in request.)

State Standards Addressed: E & E Standards: Threatened, Endangered, and Extinct Species (4.7.4)


  1. Teacher collects materials need to build birds' nests.
  2. Place materials on a table for children to select the items needed.
  3. On another table, put supplies needed for diorama along with writing paper and pencils


  1. Begin the lesson with students remembering and naming the different birds seen outside the classroom window. List them on the board. To extend discussion ask, "How did you know it was a robin? A blue jay? What do we call a bird's home?" Discuss what a nest might be made of. List them on the board. Explain to the class that they will be building the habitats of a few birds we may see flying around the school.
  2. List the following birds on the board: American robin, American goldfinch, black-capped chickadee, blue jay, and song sparrow. Show the enlarged pictures of each bird.
  3. Discuss how each bird builds a nest differently and uses things it finds. Using the 4-H bird habitat chart on page 6, discuss the types of nests birds build, including a description of the nest and the materials that are used. Also note that each type of bird builds a nest differently.
  4. Divide the class into five groups, randomly or by pulling a bird name or picture out of a hat. Give each group a description chart of their bird. Groups need to decide who will make the nest, who will make the scenery, and who will write the report.
  5. Students get the supplies they need.
  6. Groups build nest, scenery, and write a three- to four-sentence report. Nest needs to include eggs. Scenery needs to include the bird, habitat, and the location of the nest in the habitat. Report needs to include the bird name, where it nests, a brief description of the nest, and what the eggs look like.


  • Teacher will observe student participation and check diorama and reports for accuracy.
  • Students will share the diorama and reports with the class.


Zim, S. Herbert, and Ira N. Gabrielson (1991). Birds: A Guide to Familiar American Birds . New York: Golden Press.

Wildlife is All Around Us, Book 3, Summer. 4-H Members Guide, 4-H Wildlife Conservation Program, Unit 1. (Contact Natural Resources Extension to order copies, include title of publication in request.)