Adapt A Bird - SCOPES Digital Fabrication

Lesson Details

Age Ranges
MS-ETS1-1, MS-LS4-4, Fab-Safety.1, Fab-Modeling.1, Fab-Fabrication.1, Fab-Design.1

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Caitlin Gonzalez
K-12 teacher
Eighth grade general science teacher at the Salemwood School in Malden, Ma. Read More


Students will use their problem solving skills and a vinyl cutter to help combat a neighborhood problem. Over the course of four class periods (3 hours in total) students will use their problem solving skills and a vinyl cutter to create a bird sticker to place on their window to stop other birds in the neighborhood from flying into it. Students will create a bird that is adapted to that particular environment in order to make it realistic to the other birds. Students will utilize a vinyl cutter and google draw or inkscape to create these stickers. 


What You'll Need

  • Bird Adaptations Worksheet
  • Pencil
  • Colored Pencils and or markers and or crayons
  • Computer 
  • Vinyl Cutter
  • Roland CutStudio
  • Google Drawing or Inkscape
  • Vinyl of different colors
  • Tweezers 
  • Scissors


The Instructions


Hook students with a neighborhood problem and introduce adaptations.

  • Start by hooking the students. Ask them how many like to wake up at 5am? Most will answer they don’t! Tell them we are going to talk about adaptations and use this knowledge to help solve a problem that is causing teenagers in their town to be woken up at 5am.  
  • Introduce to students what an adaptation is and have students explore “good” adaptations for birds in an environment of their choice. Use the attached worksheet to have students select an environment and traits they want to focus on to draw a bird best suited for that environment. Have students explain what makes each trait best suited for their environment.



Have students work in groups to explore adaptations and general trends they notice among the birds created in our class.

  • Group students with other students in the class who chose the same environment for their bird in the explore section. Have students compare their birds and record the similarities and differences among the birds in the group. They should notice that even though there are some similarities interestingly all the birds are not identical even though they live in the same environment. Have a whole class discussion to compare the birds in the different environments noticing the similarities and differences.



Explain to students the problem they will be working to solve and how to use google draw and the parameters for the stickers. Have students brainstorm ideas for their projects based on previous projects using the vinyl cutter.

  • Problem Presented to students: It is 5am and you are sleeping soundly in your bed in Malden. You are awakened by birds that keep flying into your window not realizing there is glass there. Your task is to create a bird sticker using google draw or inkscape that you can put on your window to keep birds from flying into it. The sticker must have a bird that is well adapted to the environment so it is believable to the other birds.
  • Have students brainstorm in small groups what their birds may look like.
  • Go through with students, step by step how to create a drawing on google draw. Specifically, how to add shapes, how to use the drawing pen function, how to add color, how to search the web for pictures, how to alter the size of their drawing. (students have already used the vinyl cutter this year so this would be review)
  • Go over with students the specific parameters for our bird stickers. Size, shape and colors required.



Creation of bird stickers independently by the students.

  • Students will work independently to create their bird stickers. After deciding on a design for their bird (based on the best adaptations for the particular environment) they will use google draw or inkscape to design their bird sticker. Students print and peel out their bird sticker.