If you are teaching kids about migration and looking for a variety of tools to do so, I recommend adding Audubon’s free online game, Mission Migration,to your toolbox. The game isn’t too complicated and brings to light the dangers birds face when migrating. The game also shows kids what birds need when migrating to their seasonal destinations.
The kids start out by choosing the type of bird they want to be. Then, they fly off on their migration adventure as a flock of birds. They dodge planes and storms, glide on air streams, and attempt to land the birds in safe places when it is time for a rest.
I found that it was helpful to demonstrate how to play the game to the whole class before letting kids pair up and play the game. This forced the kids to pay attention to the instructions and notice the important information the game provides about bird migration, so they can be more successful at playing the game.
After playing, the kids discussed the types of obstacles they were surprised to see in the game. They hadn’t thought about dirty puddles and poisoned rats as being potential hazards to birds. Some of the kids were surprised by the fact that airplanes are dangerous to birds. So it seems that this game got my kids thinking and helped them to learn about migration in a fun way.
The truth is, I only found the Mission Migration game because the weather was too windy and cold to do the outdoor migration obstacle course planned for the day. Once the weather cleared up that week, we went outside and learned about more obstacles that birds face when migrating. I got this idea from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Habitat Connections Unit. The kids had a great time “flying” through the course. They thought it would be easy, but a successful migration proved to be a serious challenge.