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Lesson Six: Biodiversity

How do bird songs influence human music?

National Science Education Standards

Content Standard A: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

  • Understanding about scientific inquiry.
  • Employ simple equipment and tools to gather data and extend the senses.

Content Standard B: Physical Science

  • Position and motion of objects
  • Sound is produced by vibrating objects. The pitch of the sound can be varied by changing the rate of vibration.

Content Standard C: Life Science

  • The characteristics of organisms
  • Organisms and their environments

Content Standard E: Science and Technology

  • Abilities of technological design

Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

  • Characteristics and changes in populations
  • Changes in environments

Objectives: NCSCOS Science

Competency Goal One: The learner will conduct investigations and build an understanding of animal life cycle.

Competency Goal Four: The learner will conduct investigations and use appropriate technology to build an understanding of the concepts of sound.

NCSCOS Music Objectives

GOAL 6: The learner will listen to, analyze, and describe music. (National Standard 6)

  • 6.03 Use appropriate terminology in explaining music, music notation, music instruments and voices, and music performances.
  • 6.07 Show respect while listening to and analyzing music.

GOAL 8: The learner will understand relationships between music, the other arts, and content areas outside the arts. (National Standard 8)

  • 8.02 Identify ways in which the principles and subject matter of other content areas taught in the school are related to those of music.


The songs birds use influence music styles and choices by humans.

Background information for teacher:

Biodiversity is the variety of all life on Earth. Birds are a group of animals that are quite diverse. They have adapted to almost every habitat including forests, grasslands, oceans, arctic regions and deserts. This diversity has impacted human culture in a significant way.


  • Call and response — a song style that follows a simple question-and-answer pattern in which a soloist leads and a group responds


  • Eric Carle book: The Very Quiet Cricket
  • Straws
  • Ruler
  • Tape


45 minute

Process Skills:

  • Observe
  • Communicate
  • Measure
  • Predict

Procedure: (Engage, Explore)

  1. Use Eric Carle’s book The Very Quiet Cricket to imitate and create some of the sounds used by each animal.
    1. Cricket: use a plastic comb and run fingers through it
    2. Locust: shake seeds rapidly in a container
    3. Praying mantis: rub hands together quickly
    4. Worm: Bite an apple or crush an empty water bottle
    5. Spittle bug: blow bubbles in a cup of water with a straw
    6. Cicada: blow up a balloon and squeak the air out
    7. Bumblebee: Kazoo
    8. Dragonfly: wave tissue paper in the air
    9. Mosquito : quiet buzzing
    10. Luna Moth: make a construction paper fan and wave gently in the air
      (substitute any items you would like)
      Discuss whether any of these sounds remind you of music or instruments.
  2. Review and discuss some of the bird songs we have heard so far, be sure to point out that they do not all sound the same.
  3. Discuss how the sounds influence the behavior of animals.
  4. Show students how to make pan flutes with straws and tape. They will be using them to demonstrate different pitches and songs.
  5. (To make the pan flute secure approximately 8 straws together by gluing or taping them to an index card. Cut the straws on an angle so each one is a little shorter than the one beside it. This does not have to be measured exactly but can be to incorporate measuring skills for your class.)
  6. Measure out lengths of straws and glue together.
  7. Allow students time to experiment and practice with the flute to make various pitches and songs.
  8. Present pan flute pitches to the group.

Class Reflection: (Explain)

  1. What types of sounds do animals use to communicate?
  2. Why do birds use songs and calls?
  3. How did you use the pan flute to communicate? What were you trying to communicate?

Elaborate: (Extend)

Authentic Assessment: (Evaluate)

  • Group participation
  • Pan flute assembly