Flap to the Future

Flap to the Future_no_text cover

To supplement Bird Academy’s online game Flap to the Future, we’ve created Jump, Glide, or Fly? Exploring Bird Evolution lesson plan. This lesson plan, composed of three activities, explores modern birds and their dinosaur ancestors, adaptations for flight, and the relationship between structure and function. This free lesson plan is perfect for students grade 6-8 and those learning about evolution or adaptations!

Students will…

  • identify and compare common characteristics of prehistoric and modern birds.
  • understand the advantages and disadvantages of certain adaptations.
  • apply knowledge about adaptations to create a futuristic bird.


Next Generation Science Standards

  • MS-LS1-5: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
  • MS-LS2-4: Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • MS-LS4-2: Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.
  • MS-LS4-4: Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.
  • MS-LS4-6: Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.

Common Core State Standards – English Language Arts

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.7 – Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1 – Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1.D – Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.1 – Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.8 – Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.9 – Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6-8.1 – Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence

Different Birds

Going Further

  • Explore diversity and the distribution of birds with the Wall of Birds.
  • Check out Bird Academy’s All About Feathers interactive page. Learn about the evolution of feathers, the different types and functions of feathers, and hear from a feather scientist!
  • Explore the processes of evolution and natural selection with our free download Evolution of Paradise lesson plan.
  • Watch our archived webinar Exploring Evolution‘ for a walk-through of resources pertaining to evolution.
  • Read our blog ‘Birds to Bring Back‘ where you’ll find free coloring pages and discussion questions related to interesting extinct and prehistoric birds.