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Student Science Mystery: Strange Dead Bird


found in: science; social studies; 3-5; 6-8

Strange Dead Bird opens when an unfamiliar bird drops dead at the feet of three students as they wander near a river. They have a ten-page paper to write on the Louisiana Purchase, but the mystery of the bird’s sudden death and its implications delay work on their assignment…or it might. Students in grades 5-8 can choose to abandon this interactive mystery and resume work on the research paper if they wish. Chances are good they will not.

Committed scientists/detectives follow leads, ask questions, and gather clues to reach their conclusions. If they should go astray, they have opportunities to double back and try again. The mystery can be read and solved in 60 minutes. Students can work individually, in teams of three, or as a class. The designers believe it is a good parent/student activity.

Strange Dead Bird is available in Flash and HTML versions. Interactivity is better with Flash. It supports standards-based science learning, and its themes relate to the JASON Expedition on Disappearing Wetlands.

Links provide more information on West Nile, the Olive-Sided Flycatcher and Neotropical migratory birds, wetlands, and more, as well as nine more interactive science mysteries.

For Teachers  provides a synopsis, outlines purpose and structure, and suggests how to use the mystery.

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