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Turkey Day

Science Lesson
for Turkey Day 

The students will identify the characteristics of birds for classification and identify facts about turkeys.


  • A book or web site which defines the characteristics of birds.  The following web site may be helpful: Encarta (Bird)

  • Specific information on the turkey.  A book such as All About Turkeys by Jim Arnosky or one of the following web sites: All About Turkeys for Kids, or Meet the Wild Turkey.

  • Turkey Talk Worksheet

  • Craft feathers or feathers cut from construction paper (one per student).



  1. Discuss the different ways animals can be classified: mammals, reptiles, insects, fish, birds, etc.  Ask the students where the turkey belongs in the classifications.

  2. Ask the students to attempt a definition of bird.  Write their responses on chart paper or the blackboard, whether they are correct or not.  

  3. Share the book or web site which classifies birds as warm-blooded animals with wings, feathers, a backbone, and a beak, which hatch from eggs.  Go back over the responses of the students to determine if their statements were correct.  For example, the students may have said, "All birds fly."  Point out that not all birds can fly, such as the penguin and domesticated turkeys (wild turkeys can fly).

  4. Hand out the Turkey Talk Worksheet.  Have the students complete the answer to question #1.  (Younger students may draw pictures for answers or complete the worksheet as a whole class on chart paper.)

  5. Have the students read the remaining questions (or the teacher read the questions) before sharing the information on the web sites and in the book.  

  6. Pass out the "feathers".  Direct the students to raise their feathers in the air every time they hear an answer to one of the questions from the worksheet.

  7. Read the book or share the information on turkeys.  The students should raise their feathers in the air as they hear answers to the worksheet questions.  Allow time for the students to record the answers as they are found.  

Other Lesson Ideas

  1. Compare the turkey to another type of bird.  

  2. Conduct a lesson on bird beaks and/or feet and how they are adapted to fit the bird's needs.  The following link may be helpful: http://www.lam.mus.ca.us/birds/guide/index.html. (Click on the Adaptations link.)  This lesson could also expand to include comparing turkey feet to other kinds of animals' feet, i.e. webbed feet, paws, etc.

  3. Read the book All About Turkeys by Jim Arnosky.  Have the students write turkey facts on feather shapes and create a classroom turkey fact book.

  4. A baby turkey is called a poult.  Use the following web link to learn more baby animal names: http://www.zooish.com/Names.htm



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