Objective: Children will investigate bird feathers and perform an experiment to determine how important feathers are to birds and how oil can harm them.
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Note: Divide the children into small groups. For each group, fill 1 bowl with water, fill 1 bowl with oil, and fill another bowl with a mixture of 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid to 1 cup warm water.
Bird’s feathers have millions of tiny barbs and barbules in each vane. These hook together like Velcro to form a tight, waterproof barrier. This barrier provides an important cover for the birds so they are insulated, or protected, from extreme temperatures in air or water. Any separation in the feathers exposes the bird’s sensitive skin. Birds spend much of their time “preening” or combing each feather with their beaks to keep the feathers perfectly aligned. The feathers need to be perfectly aligned so the bird can survive exposure to different types of weather.
In the experiment, the bird feathers will separate when they are dipped in water. However, the feathers can be realigned as they were before getting wet. Dipping the feathers in oil also causes the feathers to separate. Just a small amount of oil on a bird can be very dangerous. The oil coats the feathers and keeps them from being properly realigned. When oil sticks to a bird’s feathers, it causes the feathers to mat and separate. If the feathers are not properly aligned, the bird’s skin becomes exposed, and the bird will not be able to regulate its body temperature.
These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.
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There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.