Drinking Bird Activity in the Classroom Red Jax Retro Clipart
TITLE: The Drinking Bird

AUTHOR: Clark Brean, Lebanon Union H. S., Lebanon, Or.

GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT:  9-12 / Physics

PURPOSE: To investigate the operation of a toy drinking bird.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS: Drinking bird, 250 ml beaker, Water

OBJECTIVE: Toys often illustrate fundamental physical principles. The toy drinking bird is an example.  
The challenge for you in the lab is to discover why the drinking bird functions.


1.   Set up the toy drinking bird with a beaker of water so
     that the bird will cycle.  Be sure the bird beak
     touches the water with each cycle. You may need to
     adjust the fulcrum to be sure the bird cycles smoothly.

     NOTE:  As the instructor, you might want to be sure you
     have all birds cycling correctly before the lab to save

2.   After the bird starts "drinking," study its operation
     carefully.  Your goal is to explain how it works.  As a
     final product, I would like an outline that explains
     step by step, one full cycle of the bird's movement.


NOTE:  You may include these questions to help lead the
students to the explanation of the cycle or you may hold
them for yourself and use them to guide students that become

1.  What causes the fluid to rise up the toy bird's neck?

2.  What causes the bird to dip?

3.  What causes the bird to make itself erect?

4.  What is the purpose of the fuzzy head of the bird?

5.  Will the bird continue to drink if the cup is
     removed? Explain.

6.  Will the relative humidity of the surrounding air
     affect the rate of dipping of the bird?  Explain.

7.  Will the bird dip faster indoors or outdoors?  Why
     will this be so?

8.  Give three conditions that will cause the bird to
     fail to operate.

9.  Give at least one practical application of the method
     of operation of the drinking bird.

10. How does the temperature of the water in the beaker
      affect the rate of cycling of the bird?

WARNING: This product is not a toy and is not intended for use by children under 8 years of age. Use under adult supervision. Avoid breaking glass, contains methelene chloride and may stain clothing and other surfaces. Do not swallow or allow to come into contact with eyes. Flammable. Keep away from flame and other heat sources. CHOKING HAZARD: Contains small parts. Not for children under 8 years of age.

Recommended for ages 8 and older.

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