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Mapping Mockingbirds

Source Institutions

    California Academy of Sciences

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Mapping Mockingbirds

This lesson plan revolves around studying the speciation of the Galápagos mockingbirds, which are on display at the California Academy of Sciences. It works well as a pre-visit activity and post-visit activity. In the first part of the lesson, learners will explore the speciation of the Galápagos mockingbirds by solving a logic puzzle. The logic puzzle can be solved by using clues about the different kinds of mockingbirds. Once it is solved, learners will be able to construct a branching diagram showing evolutionary relationships among this group of birds. In the second part of the lesson, learners can review their branching diagram and educators may ask them guiding questions to learn how the lineages are related and to unify their understanding of the material. This activity is standards-based and includes resources for educators and extension ideas.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Field Trip, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Mapping Mockingbirds Student Worksheets (11 x 17)
  • Mapping Mockingbirds Clues (8 x 11)
  • Teacher Answer Sheet
  • colored pencils or markers (4 colors)
  • picture of the northern mockingbird


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
      • Classification
      • Biodiversity
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Biodiversity
    • Evolution
      • Evidence for Evolution
      • Mechanisms of Evolution
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • Patterns of Heredity
  • Mathematics
    • Problem Solving
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • California Academy of Sciences


  • All Rights Reserved, California Academy of Sciences, ©2008


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