Role playing mapping game as a migrated bird

Learning outcome

To understand what migration is and why birds migrate.

Key Stubbington focus

Environment - birds

  • For Upper Key Stage 2
  • Duration 1.5 hours
Success criteria
  • I can explain why and how migration happens
  • I can demonstrate an understanding of what migration involves
  • I can create and record own migratory path
Session plan

Introduction 10 minutes

Talk to the children about migration. What is it? Why might animals in general migrate? Discuss the reasons for birds migrating using the Swift as an example. Think about why it migrates, how it eats and sleeps, the dangers it may face during migration. A Primary Activ flipchart is available to help support this discussion.

Main 60 minutes

The Game

In this game, the children will take on the role of migrating birds.

In pairs the children will be given riddles to solve. Each answer will give them a place to go to in the grounds. At the beginning of the game, the children should be given their 1st riddle and should then follow the rest in order.

When the riddle is solved, the pair must make their way to the place indicated where they will find a plastic pigeon. Upon this pigeon, a question about migration will be written. The answer must be written on the children’s riddle sheet, next to the correct riddle.

During the game, the children will also have a map of the site. On this the children should plot their ‘migratory route’ around the grounds.

While playing, there will be the added distraction of a teacher in the guise of a hungry bird of prey. The children need to complete the task while also avoiding this teacher. Each time they are caught a stamp will be marked onto their map.


The children will receive:

  • 1 point for solving the riddle and getting to the right place
  • 2 points for the correct answer (1 point for a good try)
  • 1 point for plotting the place correctly on the map
  • Minus 1 point for each stamp collected from the bird of prey

The end of the game should be signified by a whistle. At the end of the game, children should make their way back to their classroom.

Plenary 20 minutes


When the game is finished the children should be brought back together to discuss the activity. Each of the answers should be gone through as the majority of questions are open and children could have many different ideas.

Discussion is a key part to this activity being successful.

Less able children

  • The migratory path could be removed from the activity, just to mark points visited
  • Children will be working in pairs

More able children

Justify answers and give examples.

Previsit activities

Looking into migration of animals in general. What animals migrate? Why?

Follow up activities

  • Research a particular animal/bird which migrates, present findings
  • Explore other adaptations animals might have for surviving winter e.g. storing food, hibernation, growing thicker fur
  • Plot a ‘real life’ migration route of an animal onto a world map. Research online to find real life routes
Health and safety checks
  • Look out for ponds, ditches, nettles. Paths checked and cut back regularly
  • Children must stay with their partners when moving around
  • Adults should behave in a calm and controlled manner to model for children
  • Playing area is the whole site, boundaries and out of bounds areas should be made clear
  • Additional adults should be around grounds, with one adult near to classrooms so easier to find