Hungry Birds is a fast-paced game that demonstrates evolutionary concepts. Designed to complement exhibits on evolution and environment/ecology, Hungry Birds is played on touch screens. The game is targeted at 6-12 year olds (but simple enough and engaging enough for both older and younger players), and is aligned with K12 learning objectives for that age range. Using the well-known example of peppered moths, players are birds who fly through a forest and try to eat the moths on the trees (by touching them). During gameplay, the environment changes to reflect the impact of pollution, which affects which moths can be seen. A brief explanation of what happened—what the players actually experienced during the game—and what it teaches us concludes the experience.
Meeting Educational Objectives and Curriculum Standards
The concepts of adaptation and natural selection are foundational components to a coherent understanding of life on Earth. Different aspects of the concepts are taught in every grade and each state teaches the concepts at a slightly different time. Adaptation, however, is usually an educational objective of grades 3-4.
Hungry Birds is specifically developed for this grade level and is designed to help students intuitively understand a difficult concept. It is most successful when embedded in a pre- and post-game instructional experience. Hungry Birds is an excellent complement to any lesson plan on natural selection, but a sample plan and activity sheet for grades 3-6 are offered below.
Hungry Birds in the Classroom
Hungry Birds is playable on any touch screen (there is even a free iPad App), and it can be easily incorporated into classroom learning.