Students complete hummingbird projects

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Special to the Advance

Third through fifth graders at Perdido Elementary School recently completed a series of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lessons on the ruby-throated hummingbirds.

The students were involved in researching the migration paths, size, (including weight), length of beak and tongue, incubation of eggs and size of nests.

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Activities included students working individually to make a paper, exact scale model of a hummingbird; weight and size.

Students used cotton balls to ‘stuff’ their bird, weighing and reweighing to match the 2.8 grams of a real bird. Once students completed this task, they were then involved in a ‘wing flapping’ exercise to see how many times they could flap their arms in one minute.

They then compared their efforts to the “80 beats per second” of the hummingbirds. Using math skills, the students then calculated how many times per minute and per hour these tiny birds can flap their wings.

Working in teams, they next had to calculate how long it takes them to fly the 500 miles, over open water, at a rate of 25 miles per hour, without stopping.

After learning that these birds must double their weight before migrating home, working in teams, the students designed a group hummingbird feeder. Each team had a plastic soda bottle, a plastic tub with the lid and straws. Once they had their design, using their materials, they built, filled and hung up the feeders around the school.