Do you know the differences between Australian black birds?
Can you tell the differences between an Australian Raven and a Black Butcher Bird?
What about a Chough and a Currawong?
Learning to distinguish similarities and differences is a fundamental math skill called comparison. Practicing this skill, while doing your nature studies will help it not feel like a math lesson at all!
For our nature study lesson this week we compared three Australian black birds, the Black Butcher Bird, the Black Currawong and the White-winged Chough.
The children looked at pictures of each. Found the birds in a field guide and read about the characteristics of each. Then made a Venn Diagram display, showing the similarities and differences of each bird.
So what is a Venn Diagram and how exactly do you make one?
Basically, a Venn Diagram is a way to represent data, using circles to enclose like/similar data. It is a way to sort your information into an easy, readable form.
To make a Venn Diagram first decide what things you are going to compare. You need to decided on things that are alike but different, if your things are TOO different the amount of information is overwhelming. It is easier to find similarities and differences between a magpie and a magpie lark, then to try and compare a magpie to an elephant.
You might decide to compare two or three things. Don’t choose too many or once again the information becomes overwhelming.
I’m going to show you the steps to comparing a Black Butcherbird, Black Currawong and a White-winged Chough.
Step 1- We chose which birds we wanted to compare. There were three, so we drew three overlapping circles. (If you are only comparing two, you only draw two overlapping circles).
Step 2 – We researched the characteristics of each bird. Writing down the things that we noticed were similar or different for each.
Step 3 – We organised our data, writing into the space that it belonged in.
Our go to book for identifying birds is the Simpson and Day Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. It has a great image comparing the sizes of all the black birds of Australia.
You can also find lots of information online. Here are some links to the three birds we compared.
You can download a copy of our free Venn Template below if you would like to do this activity with your children.
There is a free math game HERE for children to learn about Venn Diagrams. (Please note this web page uses adds, you can access their add free version by subscribing).
To keep learning about Australian birds why not look at lesson 29 in the Handbook to Amy Mack’s A Bush Calendar, all about Butcherbirds?
And don’t forget to use your data collection to work towards earning the Nature Club Badges.