Designing a bulletin board about animal migration uses important skills your students are developing. Each of the bulletin board ideas listed here involves one or more of the following skills – research, writing, art and/or math.
Board #1 – Animals that migrate
This board will feature four groups of animals that migrate; Birds, fish, mammals and reptiles. Divide students into four groups to work on this project. The teacher will divide the bulletin board horizontally into sections, one for each category. To divide equally, measure the board and divide into four equal parts with a faint pencil line. Next, emphasize division lines with magic marker, colorful tape, or patchwork x’s.
At the left end of each section, list the name of one particular animal group in bold print (fish, birds, mammals or reptiles). Have the different student groups select three or four animals they wish to feature on their part of the board. They should use a separate index card for each animal and list bits of trivia about it. These index cards will line up from left to right across the board in each section. Between the cards, have students place illustrations of particular animals found in that group. These may be from magazine clippings or drawn freehand.
Board # 2- Questions about migration
What is migration? Many animals move from one place to another on an annual basis. Technically speaking, the word “migrate” is reserved for regular, period movements of populations away from and back to their place of origin.
What types of animals migrate? Many types of birds, fish, mammals and amphibians migrate in their lifetime. Some migrate every year while others spent their entire lives in the migration process. One example is the salmon, which spends its life battling harsh currents to return to the same place it was hatched and began its life trip downstream. Once their own eggs are laid and fertilized, the adult salmons die and the process begins all over again.
Why do animals migrate? Some animals migrate to find fresh food and water. Others migrate in order to spawn or lay eggs. Still others move to warmer climates during harsh winters. A study of each animal will provide clues to why they migrate.
Board # 3 – Mapping migration
Place a large map on the bulletin board and surround it with colorful photos or illustrations of animals that migrate. If you are focusing on birds, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology provides lots of information about migration patterns, triggers, traps and preferred pathways.
Beside each photo or illustration of a particular animal, place an index card with information about its migration process. Include the animal’s common name, scientific name (if desired) and where it normally lives when not in migration mode. Have students include the reason the animal migrates, what time of year it moves and how far it travels. Run colorful yarn from each animal picture to the map, showing its point of departure with a thumbtack and its route and destination with the yarn.
Another take on this particular board is to have each student choose an animal shown on the board. Cards will already have the name of the animal on the top line so children will know how to properly spell it. They will now look up the answers to the questions listed in Board #1 to finish the cards. Once these are completed, they can be posted on the bulletin board.
Board # 4 – A migration station
This board features some fascinating trivia about specific animals that migrate. Divide students into small groups and let them research a particular kind of animal. A complete list of animals that migrate can be found on the web at “List of lists” and includes dozens of migratory animals from which to choose.
You may prefer, instead, to assign the animals to individual students and have them list interesting trivia or answer the same questions as Bulletin board #2 – reasons for migrating, when and where it begins its journey and where it ends up. At the end, have them include what they found most interesting about their assigned animal.
Another idea: They can write a report about a particular animal’s migration. Have them include an illustration, sketch or colorful magazine clipping of the animal they choose. Encourage creative work! Once these are finished, have students read their reports aloud and turn them in. Display their reports on a bulletin board that has an interesting, animal-theme border.
Board # 5 – Amazing migrations
This board features a select group of animals that travel the furthest, face the harshest elements, migrate on particular dates, etc. Examples include the monarch butterfly migration to Mexico and southern California or the swallows of San Juan Capistrano, California. Other “extreme” migrations include the gray whale, desert locust, arctic tern and caribou. Have students research these and contribute the length of these journeys – up to 21,000 miles!
When your bulletin board about animal migration is complete, snap a picture of the finished product with your students kneeling in front of it. Make copies for each student to carry home. For more activities and learning fun, check out these informative handouts about hibernation and migration!