Teachers’ Lounge

The Ordinary, Extraordinary Junco: Evolution in Action

by megan on Jul. 10th, 2013 No Comments

Juncos are among the most common and most abundant “backyard birds” found across North America, and they are easily observable by millions of people daily. Did you know that they also tell an exciting evolutionary story?

The Ordinary Extraordinary Junco is a documentary film project designed to engage, entertain, and inspire student and adult audiences of all backgrounds. The feature-length film (88 min.) is comprised of eight shorter video modules (3 to 20 min.), or “chapters,” that highlight past and present biological research on one of the most common and abundant –yet amazing and diverse – groups of songbirds in North America, the Juncos.

Each video chapter explores key themes in animal behavior, ecology, or evolution, and conveys the process of scientific research with high school and college science standards in mind. Related educational resources are available to facilitate classroom or self-directed (e.g., homework) use.

There is also a teacher guide!

Ordinary Extraordinary Junco

What: A film highlighting research on a common yet amazing group of backyard birds, the Juncos

Run Time: 88 minutes total, but comprised of eight shorter video chapters (3 to 20 min. each)

Created for public and student audiences of all backgrounds and ages

Key themes: evolution, animal behavior, ecology, and the research process

Designed with science and biology education standards in mind (high school and college)

Produced by biologists and filmmakers from Indiana University

Funded by the National Science Foundation and Indiana University

And it’s all available for free!

Read more here

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