The children were so excited this morning! Last week, we hung a birdseed wreath outside our window. The children were a little disappointed that the birds didn’t arrive that very moment. However, this morning was completely different. From our window, we observed at least 15 birds rummaging around on the playground and this little friend repeatedly visited our bird feeder.
These sightings inspired many questions and a renewed interest in using the binoculars when we moved outside to explore. I can’t wait to see what other types of birds we might see in the upcoming months.
This week, our class got a little too close the pond than our protective Daddy Goose would have liked and he quickly let us know to find another way around with a perfectly-timed hiss or two. The students handled it well and slowly backed away to give the goose some extra space. Once we were a safe distance away, I explained that the geese have recently laid eggs on the island in the pond and are now very protective of their home and their growing babies. I continued by saying that the geese don’t know that we won’t hurt their babies and sometimes they get upset when we get too close to the pond. Then, one of our youngest students looked at me as said,
“Yeah and the goose probably doesn’t know that this is Winchester Thurston and we ‘think also of the comforts and the rights of others’ so we would never hurt their babies.”
Proof that caring for others and nature go hand in hand!
Yesterday, our class traveled to the National Aviary as a culminating activity for our study of birds. The students were surprised to see that many of the birds were not behind cages but actually were able to fly/wander around the room as they wished. Some birds kept their distance, while other birds tried to camouflage themselves within our group so they could escape the room! We learned that some birds eat fruit, seeds, and worms while other birds eat the meat from dead animals and how important they are for our environment. The class was treated to an up-close encounter with a zealous vulture who enjoyed jumping down from the trainer’s arm to check out the reflexes of our students. Some friends that were lucky enough to feed mealworms and fish to the birds in the Wetlands room and we all had the opportunity to feed a bowl full of nectar to the Lorikeets. Some students were a little nervous having the birds so close to us (the Lories actually land on your hand to eat) but all students persevered and were calm and respectful to the birds. One student, as we walked out of the Lorikeet room, exclaimed, “That was heaven!”.
During this field trip, our class also had the opportunity to participate in a project that Mrs. Weber has been piloting, called Big Shot Camera. WT purchased cameras, which arrive disassembled, and the fifth graders worked to build them into functional digital cameras. Mrs. Weber then has spent time with each class teaching the students how to take pictures of the world around us. Our class chose to use the cameras to take pictures of the all the birds they saw during our trip.
We were so proud of our Pre-K class throughout this trip. Not only were their many other schools visiting the Aviary, but the students were challenged with being so close to these unusual animals. The students followed all of the directions, showed calm, listening bodies, and truly showed us how much they have matured over the course of this year. It is very clear that our students are ready for next year.
Our interest in flying birds has sparked an avalanche of engineering ideas. One student suggested that the best way for us to study the birds would be to build a flying machine. This way we could observe our feathered friends more closely.
Many of the children have begun creating prototypes (their word, not ours).
On another day we asked them what materials they would need for their machines. (We want to make sure we’re prepared!)
“metal, string, more metal, and gas”
“We have to do little wires to make them work.”
“very small metal pieces”
“We need some wire that carries electricity to keep the boosters working.”
“We need a plug as big as this building so we can go far.”
“Or, we need to make a fire on a stick and it attaches to the wire.”
“We can make a seat out of fabric.”
“We need shirts to make a buckle, it buckles in front and in back.”
“June is when the birds come out.”
“We need a parachute and a lighter, in case the boosters go out.”
“And metal cages to catch the bird, with food in it.”
A few days ago, while playing it their secret hiding spot, a few children found a blue egg and quickly raced to show the teachers. Some discussion erupted about what could have hatched from the egg. Many children felt that it was a bird egg, possibly even a Robin’s egg. However, other children hypothesized that it could be something else that hatches from eggs. These are some of their ideas.
With this new curiosity in all things egg-related, we’ve decided delve in deeper to see what new information we might find!