Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bird Unit Study: Free and Fun Ways to Learn About Birds

I figured that now was a good time to start finding materials for a free bird unit study since my 4 year old asks about a nest in a tree that we pass each day on the way to the park.

This study could possibly last for a long time. There are so many different types of birds; and, there is much to learn about birds in general. But as usual, I will let the bird unit lesson ideas that I find online dictate how much we learn. Also, if the children start to lose interest then that's a clear sign that it's time to move on to the next topic.

Swans on a Lake

All About Birds is a site run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Ornithology is the study of birds. (I had to look that up.) On this site you can identify over 600 North American species using the Cornell bird guide.
You can also listen to bird songs. And there are numerous bird videos you can watch on the site via their You Tube channel. I am barely skimming the surface of what all is available on All About Birds. Check it out for yourself to see how much potential there is to use this site to form bird unit lesson ideas.

Here is an example of one, of the many, videos on AAB. This one is about the Acorn Woodpecker.


Bird Coloring and Activity Book


Feeder Birds will keep any bird enthusiast very busy during Science time. The book can be used in conjunction with the All About Birds site to maximize learning.


Bird Crafts


Hands down DLTK Teach has the best bird crafts for preschoolers. Little hands can do a lot of coloring, cutting, and gluing; and, you can talk to them about birds while helping them construct their crafts.

I am down to only 1 preschooler so I need some bird activities that will keep slightly older children interested. Family Fun has quite a few crafts that seem to be for varying ages. I will probably let the children browse the bird craft section and choose what looks good to them. Or maybe by seeing what others have come up with they will come up with their own bird craft ideas.

Birds of Prey


Wedge Tailed Eagle 

Over the years we have checked out a few books from the library on the more "aggressive" birds. I wonder if the fact that I have 3 boys contributes the extreme interest in birds of prey in our house. That, and the fact that we see turkey vultures perched on a tower for the power lines almost daily on our walk to the park. It is a bit off putting. But our walks there are never dull.

Anyway, here is an activity book on Oregon Zoo Birds of Prey. Most of the pages are applicable to these birds in general, not just the ones in Oregon. This book doesn't have any coloring and it appears to be geared for children who are able to read the book and do some of the activities themselves. However, I do not see why it could not be used, as a guide, as a lesson plan for birds of prey.


Birds of Texas


We live in the great Lone Star State. And a few years ago when we moved into our house, our oldest became interested in the birds that perch in the tree in our backyard. So, I printed out Learn About Texas Birds. I cannot tell you what a great resource this book is.

My son and I compared it to the unit about birds in his 8th grade science book. And almost all of the same information was contained in both. But we got the added benefit of learning about Texas birds in our area as well. The book has activities in, like: how to make a bird feeder out of a milk jug, crossword puzzles, and how to make a paper birdhouse.

Birds on Netflix


I used to spend a lot of time finding free videos in the public domain. I still agree that there is a lot of great material out there. But since we joined Netflix, it has been a huge time saver to check there first. I have the streaming service (no DVDs) and I still manage to find quite a bit of educational material. For this lesson we have already viewed the first episode of The Life of Birds with David Attenborough.

I spent a good bit of the video discussing with the children what evolutions say versus what the Word of God says about the creation of birds. It made for an interesting discussion and the children left the video understanding that we hold everything that we hear up to the Word of God. Used that way, I think that the video series will work just fine for our needs.


Bird Curriculum/Bird Unit Lesson Plans


I was going to link to some specific bird lesson plans. But I think that there is sufficient information in the resources already listed so that you can come up with your own lesson plan. That's pretty much how we do things around here. Even when I have tried planning out our learning in the past; we have always wound up having to be flexible and willing to explore other topics, depending on the children's interests.

No comments: