Do Birds Care What Color Their Food Is?

Computational Thinker


There are many simple experiments students can do to analyze data. They can test two objects designed to solve the same problem and compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs. The teacher will create a spreadsheet to collect the data to share with the students.

Feeding the birds is fun in many ways. The students can learn bird identification and begin to learn about the bird's habits. The students can use food coloring and color the food in one feeder and see if the birds are more attracted to the food that is more colorful. 

Students will:

  • Know about spreadsheets and collecting data. 
  • Be able to analyze simple data.
  • Be able to determine if birds are more attracted to food that is colorful. 

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Spreadsheet: A spreadsheet is a document that has columns and rows which are used to calculate numbers and organize information

  2. Data: Data is facts or information. 

  3. Analyze: To analyze is to look at or examine something in detail. 

To prepare for the lesson:

  • The teacher will gather bird feeders (preferably ones that are the same), food and food coloring. 
  • The teacher will decide which spreadsheet software to use.
  • The teacher will create a spreadsheet for the students to use with labels for the two-three feeders (color of food in each one), measurements and day/time of measurement. 
  • Read the definition of Spreadsheet for kids from Kiddle.
  • Read the article from Science Bob on Do Birds Care What Color Their Food Is.

See the Accommodations Page and Charts on the 21things4students website in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity:

  1. The teacher will introduce spreadsheets to the students and explain that they are going to be collecting data to form a conclusion after looking at it. (At kindergarten, teaching many of the aspects of a spreadsheet is too early for this age group. Cells, columns and rows are all that is needed)
  2. The students will decide what food color to color the food, will fill the feeders and hang them. 
  3. The students will measure with a ruler how much food is in each feeder to start with and record the number of inches on the spreadsheet. 
  4. Each day the students will re-measure the food to see how much was eaten from each feeder and enter the information in the spreadsheet. 
  5. After the food is gone or enough days have gone by to get enough data for a conclusion, the students will look at the spreadsheet data. (The teacher can create a chart/graph from the spreadsheet to show the food levels)
  6. The students will see if the birds were attracted to the colored food more. 
  7. The teacher will discuss the data with the students and see what conclusions the students come up with. 
  8. This experiment can be continued to see if the result is the same each time. (The birds will like this)

Optional Activity:

  • Have the students take pictures of the birds. 
  • Have the students identify the birds at the feeders.
  • Keep a list of the birds that come to the feeders. 

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Quiz the students on their understanding of a spreadsheet and what its function is. 

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Computational Thinker
5a. Students formulate problem definitions suited for technology-assisted methods such as data analysis, abstract models and algorithmic thinking in exploring and finding solutions.
5b. Students collect data or identify relevant data sets, use digital tools to analyze them, and represent data in various ways to facilitate problem-solving and decision-making.
5c. Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad 

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

App, Extension, or Add-on:
Microsoft Excel

Do Birds Care What Color Their Food Is

Google Sheets

Office 365

Spreadsheet definition from Kiddle


Students can write a short story on their findings and what birds they saw. 

Students learn how to use a ruler and enter data into a spreadsheet. 


  • Students will learn about birds and their habits. 
  • Students will learn bird identification. 
  • Students will learn basic analytical skills to come to a simple conclusion. 

Students will learn what birds live in their area/region. 

This task card was created by Melissa White, 21Things Project Manager, REMC Association of Michigan, April 2018.