This lesson plan can be used either in a classroom or online.
Plot Summary: In the short Pixar film, Piper, an adult sanderling bird encourages their baby to join the other birds in finding food along the beach as the waves roll in and out. The baby bird bravely rushes forward only to find their parent will no longer drop food in their mouth—they must begin to fend for themselves. Clumsily, the baby bird finds something to eat only to be struck by the rolling surf. Back in the nest and frazzled, the baby refuses to leave the safety of the nest, once again demanding to be fed by their parent, who refuses. Scared, but determined, the baby leaves the nest once again only to be frightened by the waves. A chance encounter with a hermit crab results in the bird learning a new method of managing the waves and finding clams to eat. He joyfully presents his parent and the other birds with a bountiful supply of food.
- What kinds of things would you rather have adults do for you than have to do for yourself?
- Should parents encourage their children to do the things that frighten them?
- What does it mean to be brave? Is the baby bird brave? Are the other birds brave? The hermit crabs?
- Is it scary to grow up?
- What does it mean to feel proud? Is it ever wrong to feel proud of our accomplishments?
- The hermit crab teaches the bird a new way of catching food. What new things have you learned from those who are different from you?