How Big are Your Wings?
1-2 class periods
1. Identify similarities and differences of organisms.
2. Describe differences in physical and behavioral traits that
contribute to the survival of a particular living thing.
3. Describe motion in reference to space and time.
roll of butcher paper
paints of various colors (white, black, gray, red, blue, pink,
brown, tan, yellow)
measuring tape (centimeters)
1. Print a copy of the bird
wing anatomy. Photocopy and pass out to students or make a
poster size copy of the information to show the class. Have the
class identify the various parts of the wings.
B. Manus (or hand)
E. Carpal joint (or wrist)
J. "Shoulder" joint
2. Discuss the different parts of a bird's wing and compare
it to our own arms. Differences include hollow/dense bone structure,
phalanges/fingers, feathers/skin, weight, the necessity for gathering
food, metabolism, and heart rate.
3. Discussion ideas:
Questions to ask might include: Why don't we fly and seabirds
do? Do we need to fly to get our food? Why did birds develop this
adaptation and we didn't?
4. Art activity:
Compare your own "wings" to the wings of the Laysan albatross
and other seabirds.
Print a copy of the silhouettes of various seabirds from the Website.
Using measuring tape, tape, butcher paper, pencils, and imagination,
have students draw the silhouette of a Laysan
Pelican and Pterodactyl.
Cut out the birds and tape them to a wall. Let the students measure
their own "wings" against the birds' wings.
Ask the question: Even if we had wings would we be able to fly?
Why or why not?
Suggested comparisons to make:
Largest seabird wingspan (Wandering Albatross, 419 centimeters)
Smallest seabird (Least Tern, 21.59-24.13 centimeters from beak
to tip of tail)
Smallest bird (Bee Hummingbird, 7.11-8.89 centimeters from beak
to tip of tail)
Largest bird body (Ostrich, 274.32 centimeters tall, 68 kilograms,
Largest bird egg (Ostrich egg,1400 grams)
Largest prehistoric flying animal, which was not a bird! (Pterodactyl,
8 meter wingspan)
Convert the metric measurements into feet, inches and pounds.