Migration Math

Theme: Natural History

Author: Loris J. Chen
Teacher, North Arlington Middle School

Subject Areas

42-minute class period


Reading comprehension, computation, mathematical reasoning

Charting the Course
Relating a short story about shorebird migration to mathematical calculations is a unique approach to this topic. The shorebird migration and the horseshoe crab connection is a significant component of the Down Jersey region and deserves in-depth investigation, study and understanding by the students that reside within the area.

Migration,extinct, arachnids, population

Correlation to NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards
Mathematics: 4.1 (5,6), 4.2 (1,4,5), 4.3 (6,7), 4.4 (3,7,10,11)

Students will be able to:

  1. Develop mathematical formulas
  2. Solve mathematical problems
  3. Explain their solution steps
  4. Explain reasons why the answer is probably correct


Copy Me page 1 and 2


Review the answer sheet.

Additional activities on shorebirds and horseshoe crabs contained in this guide.


Warm Up

Read the Migration Math

Copy Me page 1. This can be done aloud using round robin or popcorn reading. Explain that the students will be doing math problems based on the story.

The Activity

Distribute Go Figure (Copy Me page 2). Students should solve the problems showing their formulas and computation calculations.

Wrap Up

Go over the problems. Students should be able to give reasons why they think their answers are correct.


Collect Go Figure sheets. Check for understanding of directions to show formulas, calculations, and answer check.


Call the Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) at (609)292-9400 and ask for the actual data for the shorebird migration for the current year. Apply the mathematical formulas to the data. Hypothesize about the trends in the number of migrating shorebirds.

Please download the PDF for the complete Lesson Plan packet.


New Jersey Audubon Society, Center for Research and Education
600 Route 47 North
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
Phone: (609) 861-0700
Fax: (609) 861-1651
Visit their website at www.njaudubon.org/

Wetlands Institute
1075 Stone Harbor Boulevard
Stone Harbor, NJ 08247-1424
Phone: (609) 368-1211 Fax: (609) 368-3871
Visit their website at www.wetlandsinstitute.org

Endangered and Nongame Species Program
P.O. Box 400
Trenton, NJ 08625
Phone: (609) 292-9400
Visit the Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife website at www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw