Back to Projects

Bird Riddle Cards

School: Marathon Area Elementary School

City/State: Marathon, WI

Grade(s): 1

Format(s): Trading card

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Social Studies

Type of Task: Performance Task

Category: Examples from Curriculum

Project Overview

This project was the result of the EL Curriculum; Grade 1. Module 3 final performance task. Students learn about various bird characteristics that help birds survive. Classroom teachers at Marathon Area Elementary School have adapted the original performance task to allow student choice in selecting various native birds in Wisconsin to conduct independent research. Students select a native Wisconsin bird, conduct independent research through the use of student friendly research platforms such as PebbleGo, various bird field guides, and their own personal observations. Students practice taking notes and grapple with learning how to construct a riddle using their specific bird characteristics from their independent research. Students then create a scientific drawing of their native bird utilizing the structure of Austin’s Butterfly to complement their written work. These final cards are compiled into a full deck of cards resulting in roughly 40-50 different Wisconsin Native Bird Riddle Cards that are professionally printed and donated to all 1st grade students as well as local organizations within Marathon County. Local businesses that have benefited from these Bird Riddle Cards include: REGI (Raptor Education Group Inc.) which is a local non-profit bird rehabilitation centers that students visit as field work in the spring, CWES (Central Wisconsin Environmental Station) where students spend a day in the spring to conduct additional hands-on research about bird adaptations, and finally, the UW-Steven’s Point have utilized these cards in their Educational Bird Monitoring Kit, which is available to educators throughout the state of Wisconsin to rent and use in the classroom. Students enjoy using these bird riddle cards to sort birds based on physical characteristics such as color, size, and how they survive. Children also quiz peers on local bird facts by playing “What Bird Am I?”



In this performance task, students create two cards to demonstrate their expertise about how a bird uses specific body parts to survive. The Expert Bird Riddle card contains an informational riddle that teaches the reader about a specific bird’s key body parts and how those parts aid in survival. The Expert Bird Scientific Drawing card contains a black-and-white scientific drawing of the expert bird that accurately depicts the bird’s external anatomy. Students read their Expert Bird Riddle cards during the Celebration of Learning and use their Expert Bird Scientific Drawing cards to play a matching game in small groups. This original assignment has been adapted by Marathon Area Elementary School’s 1st Grade Teachers to allow for student choice, empowerment, and ownership of their own learning.



Curriculum Example:

From EL Education's ELA Curriculum G1:M3

Back to Projects