Download the book Discoveries at Willow Creek from GLOBE Elementary The book is available in several languages and can be viewed online or downloaded and printed.
Before reading the book, ask students to predict why the hummingbirds left and where they might have gone and their responses on the graphic organizer. Read pages 1-16.
After reading page 16, prompt the students to complete the next part of the graphic organizer asking where students think the hummingbirds went and why they think they left. Read pages 16-24.
On pages 23-24 read the information the class wrote on their chart papers. When reading about the needs of the hummingbirds, emphasize how each of those examples fulfill food, water, and shelter. Begin discussing the temperature during the seasons. Hummingbirds, as well as other animals and plants, can only survive within a specific range of temperatures. During the winter season in Pennsylvania, ask students to determine if Pennsylvania is meeting the needs of the hummingbirds. Contrast the needs met, or not met, in Pennsylvania to the needs able to be met in Costa Rica.
Read the remainder of the story aloud to the students. After finishing the book, ask the students to complete their graphic organizer by answering why the hummingbirds left and why they were able to return in the spring. Student responses should emphasize that the birds were able to meet their needs for food, water, and shelter in Pennsylvania during the spring and summer but they had to fly to Costa Rica to meet their needs during Pennsylvania’s winter and fall.
A great technical follow-up would be to show the actual migration and abundance maps of the ruby-throated hummingbird. You can find animated maps of this and other species on e-bird.