Module 1

The Bird Name Game - exploring local dialects

A game designed to enable young children to learn about local birds, and to understand the importance of local dialects.

Module 1

The Bird Name Game - exploring local dialects


Bird species usually have a common English name and an accompanying Scientific name, but different peoples have their own names for birds, or they have adopted nicknames for them, which have ended up sticking. For example, ‘Herdsman’ is one of the Orkney terms for Great Skua.

Game setup

Use this presentation to show the class, and see if they can guess the correct birds to their unusual local names

Open in fullscreen

Step 1

Play the name game: The class is shown images of seabirds, alongside their unmatched names from either Gaelic, Orkney, Shetland, or their scientific name. Can you pair each bird with the correct name?

Step 2

Option A: (suitable for lower primary) Go outside and start to explore the wildlife in your school grounds. Then complete and record the John Muir Trust's ‘Act like a Victorian Explorer’ task from their Mission Explore: John Muir resource. Find a plant, fungi or other natural object of interest and devise your own name for it, just as the Victorian Explorers would have done upon discovering that object for the very first time.

Step 3

 Option B: (suitable for upper primary)

  1. Show everyone the picture of an unnamed bird
  2. Teams must then make up their own name for the bird, being careful so other teams do not hear. (If you know the correct answer, don’t write it down – you’ll need it later.)
  3. Teams write the name down, and hand it to the teacher. Meanwhile, the teacher writes down one of the real names for the bird, either English/Gaelic/Orkney/Shetland/Scientific.
  4. The teacher shuffles all the names, INCLUDING the real one.
  5. Teacher reads out the names twice through, and everyone/teams must guess which they think is the real name.

    REMEMBER: to write your names on the paper, AND to include the bird’s real name in the shuffle.

    OPTIONAL: Points. Points can be earned for the correct answer, or if someone else guesses your made-up answer.

    Module 1

    Wild Challenge Habitat Explorer - what habitats do you have on your school grounds?

    Module 1

    Outdoor Game Migration & Nesting Game - a fast and fun role play game


    All modules

    Module 1


    An introduction to biosecurity and why it matters. Includes outdoor games

    Module 2


    Researching seabirds including tasks, model building and games

    Module 3


    How to help seabirds including games, treasure hunts and identifying tracks

    Module 4


    Setting a design challenge and biodiversity action planning

    Module 5


    Groups present and evaluate ideas including news-reading, games and writing

    Module 6


    Spreading the word including stories, map activity and games