Resting Point: Lesson Plan

Conservationists are working to protect all essential habitats along the piping plover’s flight path, including its resting point in North Carolina. 

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Alignment to NC Essential Standards

  • Bio.2.1.2 — Analyze the survival and reproductive success of organisms in terms of behavioral, structural, and reproductive adaptations.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will define flyway and identify the four flyways in the United States.
  2. Students will list the ending points of the Atlantic Flyway.
  3. Students will describe one reason the North Carolina inlets provide a good resting point for piping plovers, and one potential environmental threat to these inlets.

Essential Vocabulary

  • Flyway
  • Habitat
  • Inlet
  • Piping plover
  • Migration


Students will watch the NC Science Now video Resting Point.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Define Atlantic Flyway. What are its boundaries and endpoints?
  2. What is the major purpose of the North Carolina coast for migrating plovers?
  3. How many piping plovers are left in the world, and what percentage of them uses the Atlantic Flyway?
  4. What do you think comprises a high quality habitat, and why do you think they are disappearing?


Students will photograph or take videos of migrating birds they might find overhead. They can discuss what they found during class time.


Students will complete the interactive activity Beating the Odds: A Year in the Life of a Piping Plover.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What type of habitat provides breeding grounds for piping plovers?
  2. Describe the communities in which piping plovers fly during migration season.
  3. Why are North Carolina inlets ideal resting points for migrating piping plovers?



Students will team up in groups and present a report on the state of resting-point habitats in North Carolina. The report should include an examination of the ecosystem required for piping plovers; their foraging and roosting patterns at stopover sites; and the potential environmental hazards and threats to North Carolina inlets that threaten the survival of piping plovers.