From February 17-20th, many classrooms practiced being citizen scientists by participating in the National Audubon Society’s Great Backyard Bird Count. By gathering at classroom windows or walking outside, children counted and identified the birds they saw. The numbers were tallied on the Audubon Society website, along with reports from birdwatchers all over the world! This year’s event registered 214,018 participants. You can read more about the Great Backyard Bird Count on the National Audubon Society’s website, and you might even be able to spot some PSA photos!
Our participation in the recent bird count kindled an interest in birds. We will continue to seek to understand the nature of their interest in birds and ask questions about birds in our classroom. Birds can be observed through windows and outside during walks. Observation of birds and their behavior, and the recording of information, such as drawings of birds and writing the names of birds in a notebook provides the foundational skills of observation and documentation, essential underpinnings of the scientific method. Children can be stimulated to think about birds by hearing questions posed by adults, or by thinking of questions themselves, such as: Why are birds different colors and sizes? Why do most birds build nests in trees? Why do different birds live in different environments? Why do some birds not fly? Inquiry based learning is founded on asking and seeking answers to questions. Aspects of the natural world, such as birds in their considerable variety provide a wealth of potential for child and adult inquiry.After spending a lot of time looking for birds, one classroom began painting and drawing Wisconsin birds. To help them with identification, the children worked on observational drawings and paintings of birds in the art studio. This helps them to look more closely at identifying characteristics.
“I like to watch for birds because some people don’t know about birds. I wonder what they eat.”
“I like birds because they are so soft. I want to know how they can fly.”