So, in the spirit of the season and the new EnirvoEd/Environmental Education tags, why not try adding a little Spring to your STEM?
Hold a found-objects-only bird feeder design contest/workshop in your classroom, your grade, or even your whole school - I don’t know about you, but I don’t get to practice that design component enough in my lesson planning, and it always seems fun. Brainstorm what kinds of every day objects, some that we might throw in the trash rather than re-use or re-purpose, would be safe or unsafe to use. Start a class collection of found materials, or have students start their own collections to bring in to school and keep in a bag or container with their name on it; set up another container or bin where students can donate to an extra class supply of materials.
Have students make blueprints/designs before they make their bird-feeders. Let them test them along the way with birdseed to see if it will hold — but remember to so over the bird-seed container so nothing’s wasted if it doesn’t.
Have multiple means by which to judge:
- How much seed does it hold?
- How much or little material does it use?
- How sturdy is it? Will it fall apart before the end of the year? Is it weather-hardy?
- Is it safe for the birds?
- Are there places for the birds to sit?
And, if you can go the good old experimental route:
- How many birds does it attract?
- How many different species?
Birding has been a pastime ever since fifth grade, when my teacher had a birdwatching station set up at his window and bird identification posters up on the walls. It’s a wonderful and relatively simple way to bring the outside in.