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  1. 1. - Help the duck find her babies KS1/2 Learning objectives This activity introduces pupils to a basic characteristic and need of living things - the ability and need to reproduce. Children will learn: ! How birds (and people) attract mates. ! Nest building. ! The needs and development of the chick in the egg. ! Incubation, hatching and parental care. National Curriculum links Science AT1,2; English AT1; Maths AT1, AT2; Citizenship, PSHE. Materials and methods ! Pencils ! There are three downloadables. Use the first two as a walking, talking, watching prompt at your local wetland or WWT centre. ! The first downloadable - Blind Date - is about how people and wildfowl attract a mate. ! The second downloadable - Baby Watch - is about early life and parental care. Use it in spring and summer. ! The third downloadable is a classroom exercise where pupils join the mother animals to their correct babies. Background All living things need to reproduce. To do this, they must find and attract a mate. © Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
  2. 2. Species have developed many displays, sounds and other features to chase off rivals and attract mates. Babies may be born live or hatched from eggs depending on the type of animal. Frogs lay eggs in water. Birds lay eggs on land - normally in a nest. Birds invest a lot of parental care in their chicks. May and June are the best months to see ducklings, goslings and cygnets at WWT centres, although nests and chicks can usually be seen from March to July. Click onto factfile quot;Love a duck - family lifequot; for more information. Follow up Egg drama Children pretend to be bird embryos inside eggs. They respond to the following images - 1. Floating in space, the yolk floats in egg white for protection. 2. Awareness of a centre - the embryo's first heartbeats. 3. Extending outwards - blood flow to all parts of the yolk. 4. Awareness of body parts - what happens when you discover your legs/wings etc.? 5. Anticipation - the expectation of hatching. 6. Movement in a limited space. 7. Sensing - what sounds, smells, sights do you experience? 8. Breaking free. ! Have children test the strength of eggs. Make model eggs of different shapes. Which shapes are best for rolling? Relate the shapes to nest sites (eg on a cliff, it’s best if the egg doesn't roll well). Try egg painting. ! Investigate the effectiveness of down feathers as an insulating material. Build human-sized nests from junk (eg swan nest, flamingo nest). © Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
  3. 3. ! What happens if you soak an egg in water overnight ? What happens if you soak one in vinegar? Now soak a shell-less egg in water. What purpose does the shell serve? ! Visit a WWT centre and count the number of species as well as adults, males, females, downies of each species. ! Compare and order the results of bird observations - tall/taller/tallest; bigger than; bigger/smaller. © Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
  4. 4. Help the duck find her babies - Blind date Pupil activity People and animals do similar things when they want to find a mate. Find examples in a local wetland or WWT centre - look at birds, amphibians, insects etc. People Ducks, geese and swans (also look at other birds, frogs and insects) Wear fashionable clothes and Breeding colours and plumage in male ducks dress up for a date __________________________________________ Show off, dance, attract attention Display behaviour __________________________________________ Touch and fuss over each other Preening/social grooming __________________________________________ Show who's in charge Dominating behaviour __________________________________________ Are led or bossed around Submissive behaviour __________________________________________ Exchange gifts Feeding a mate __________________________________________ Compete Fight off rivals __________________________________________ Ask for a date Courtship sounds __________________________________________ Go out together Pairs bonding and living together __________________________________________ Find a place to live Build a nest __________________________________________ © Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
  5. 5. Help the duck find her babies - Baby watch Pupil activity Name: Type of animal: Take several copies of this sheet around your local pond or WWT centre. When you see a baby animal, stop and fill in the sheet. Use one sheet for each type of baby animal that you see. Is the baby by itself or with others? __________________________________________ If with others, how many? ______________________________________ Describe the babies (or larvae if they're insects) ______________________________________ ______________________________________ Do they look the same as the parents? ______________________________________ How do they differ? ______________________________________ What is/are the baby(ies) doing? ______________________________________ Can the baby feed itself or are the parents Where does the baby sleep? feeding it? ______________________________________ ___________________________________________ What is it eating? ______________________________________ Does another animal carry the baby? ______________________________________ ______________________________________ © Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
  6. 6. Parents and babies Pupil activity Draw a line from mum or mum and dad to their babies. Mallard Duck Mute Swans Kingfisher Barnacle Geese Water Vole © Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust