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5 Resources Connected to the March Nonfiction

By Lauren Salisbury
February 15, 2019

We can’t wait for your students to read the gripping narrative nonfiction feature in the March 2019 issue of Scope, “The Pigeon Hero of World War I.” It tells the legendary story of Cher Ami, a carrier (or homing) pigeon that saved the lives of nearly 200 American soldiers during World War I. After reading the article, check out the resources below to keep the learning going.

Essential Questions:
Post these questions in your classroom for students to refer to as they explore the resources:

  • What makes carrier pigeons extraordinary?
  • How can animals help us?
  • Why should stories about war be remembered?


5 resources to keep the learning going:

Blog post: “Unsung Heroes of World War I: The Carrier Pigeons”

Explore this post from National Archives “Pieces of History” blog to learn more about carrier pigeons and the important roles they played in World War I. View fascinating images and primary sources such as Captain Whittlesey’s message that was carried by Cher Ami and “Homing Pigeons,” a film by the U.S. Signal Corps, produced in 1936.

National Archives

Video: “How Do Homing Pigeons Get Home?”

Watch this clip from BBC’s Extraordinary Animals to explore theories on how carrier pigeons find their way back home no matter where they are.

How do homing pigeons get home?

Virtual Tour: "Trenches of World War I"

Embark on a narrated, immersive tour of the National World War I Museum's trench displays on Google Arts & Culture. If your class is doing a more in-depth exploration of WWI, view these additional online collections, exhibitions, and Google Arts & Culture immersive tours offered by the museum.

Getty Images

Article: “How Do Homing Pigeons Find Home?”

Read this Wonderopolis article to explore carrier pigeons' map and compass mechanisms and some additional theories on how their incredible navigational abilities work.


Webpage: “21 Amazing Facts About Pigeons”

Read this list of fascinating pigeon facts from the Pigeon Resource Control Center. Learn about their role in religion, lifesaving efforts, news agencies, mail service, competitive racing, and more.


3 engaging activities to choose from:

  1. In a well-organized essay, explain how animals have been used in military efforts throughout history. Use information from the article, Scope's video about military dogs, and at least one additional source.
  2. Research the biology of carrier pigeons and what makes them such skilled navigators. Then choose and research another animal with incredible navigational powers, such as the dolphin. Compare the two animals in an infographic, slideshow, or essay.
  3. Write a narrative poem about Cher Ami and the 77th Infantry Division in World War I. Be sure to include at least one simile and one metaphor.
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