Reader's Digest World Presents The Living Edens Bhutan: The Last Shangri-La
Teaching Bhutan

Bhutan, the Last Shangri-La: Migration

Lesson Objectives
Materials Needed
Estimated Time
Teaching Strategy
Helpful Web Sites
Assessment Recommendations

Lesson Objectives

1) Students will observe and list the organisms living at different altitudes in the Himalayan Mountains.

2) Students will construct a drawing showing the mountains and the relative elevations that each organism inhabits.

3) Students will identify different conditions that trigger migration patterns.

4) Students will analyze migration patterns of a selected species to present to the class.

By the end of this activity, students will:

1) Construct a drawing showing the three major areas of Bhutan and place animals correctly at each layer for winter and summer habitation.

2) Obtain migration information from the Internet on a species of interest to students and plot the movements.

3) Understand the life cycle of organisms regarding life, growth and death.

4) Predict what cues and organism uses to trigger migrations.

National Standards Science

1) Knows that plants and animals progress through life cycles of birth, growth and development, reproduction, and death; the details of these life cycles are different for different organisms

2) Knows that the behavior of individual organisms is influenced by internal cues (e.g., hunger) and external cues (e.g., changes in the environment), and that humans and other organisms have senses that help them to detect these cues

3) Knows that an organism's patterns of behavior are related to the nature of that organism's environment (e.g., kinds and numbers of other organisms present, availability of food and resources, physical characteristics of the environment)

4) Knows that changes in the environment can have different effects on different organisms (e.g., some organisms move in, others move out; some organisms survive and reproduce, others die)

Tools and Materials Needed

1) copy of the program "The Living Edens: Bhutan"

2) maps of your country and the world

3) drawing paper

4) art media

Estimated Time to Complete Lesson

One class period to watch the video. One class period to complete the drawing project. From one period to a grading period to explore migration patterns of selected species.

Teaching Strategy

Background Information

Plants and animals have adapted to live in different climatic zones that provide the conditions that best meet their needs. Each species has differing requirements for temperature ranges, sunlight, temperature and moisture. As students observe their surroundings, they should be able to identify species that live best in secluded valleys, on hills or mountaintops or in plains. The Bhutan video shows the differing species as we travel from the upper Himalayas to the plains at the base of the foothills. The Bhutanese recognize these differences and the places that the organisms live in their paintings.

As the weather in an area changes with the summer-winter cycle, animals must often change the area in which they live due to a reduced food supply and decreasing temperatures. This annual move, called migration, is especially necessary for most inhabitants of the upper reaches of the Himalayan Mountains but is observed in different species throughout the world. The move may be triggered instinctually by many things including changes in temperature, humidity, decreasing food and reduced sunlight. Students may track the migration of a variety of species on the Internet and may become involved by participating in the collection of data. Archive data is available for analysis at any time of the year.

Video Segments

The first half of the video shows and discusses many plants and animals found at the three different levels (High Himalayas, Middle Himalayas and lowlands). Students should take notes where each of the organisms are found for use in the final drawing. A brief listing includes (migrating animals listed with an (m)): High: snow leopard, goat antelope, raven (m), man (m), vulture (m), yak (m), takin (m); Middle: red panda, black-necked cranes (m), Indian otter, ducks (m), Asiatic buffalo, pelican; Low: elephant, monkeys, rhinoceros, buffalo, tiger, peacock. Plants mentioned at differing elevations: High: mosses, juniper, barley, blue poppy, grasses evident; Middle: red berries, bamboo, trees evident, grasses evident Low: grasses, trees. A drawing of Bhutan showing the different levels is shown at 37:00. Starting at 40:00, the food requirements of animals are described.


1) Watch the Living Edens: Bhutan video. Have students make a list of the plants and animals that are shown at each level of the mountain. Make a note if they live in one area in the summer and another in the winter.

2) Construct a drawing of the mountains showing the various species identified. Use circular arrows to show life zones for migrating species.

3) Consult the Internet for information regarding migrating species in different parts of the the country and the world. Have student groups research a species and present their findings to the class.

4) Discuss physical changes that would trigger migration patterns that would include differences in temperature in daylight, average temperature, food supply and winds.

Helpful Web Sites

Nature: Earth Navigators

Journey North - find a project to participate in or to monitor. This site monitors insects, birds, flowers and even whales.

Monarch Butterfly - provides weekly updates and historical data on yearly monarch butterfly migration.

Assessment Recommendations

Students may be assessed though their participation in the class discussions. The picture may be assessed by scoring the explanations of the component parts during a class presentation using a rubric. Participation in migration study on the net depending on classroom connectivity.


1. Older students can use many web resources to explore the effects and causes of human migration around the globe. Ambitious students may relate these migrations to the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis, smallpox or AIDS.

2. Graph the sunrise and sunset times for your area and the average daily temperatures (usually found in the weather section of the paper).



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