Monday, December 20, 2010

Bird Study, homeschool extras

A few months ago, we went on a field trip to the zoo. We attended a short introductory bird class. Then we were given binoculars and some time to observe the birds in the aviary.

Even Gabe got to try his hand at using the binoculars. :)
 After the field trip to the zoo, we began our study on birds. As part of our homeschool curriculum, we studied some of the state birds. I wanted Olivia to learn more about birds so we began to study them more in depth. We joined another family once a week and began putting together a lapbook to display what we were learning.
Here is Olivia's lapbook. She tells me that is a picture of her holding a bird. :) And, as you may have guessed, that is a lifecycle picture there on the front cover. We also looked closely at an egg and talked a little about reproduction.
On the left, is the the bird classification. Olivia wanted to study Hummingbirds specifically so her classification is of a hummingbird. The minibooks below that are of bird beaks and feet. We talked about their diets in that lesson as well. The bird report is her specific study of hummingbirds. We found a cool book of poems written by a family that had a hummingbird make a nest on their porch and observed its behavior. On the right are bird poems and songs. I was teaching to a group of 8 kids, ranging from Ezra, 4months at the start, to a 10 year old. It was a learning experience, to say the least, teaching to multiple ages.
The two minibooks on this page are about birdwatching. We learned what you need to be a birder, supplies (notepad, guide, etc) and behavior (sitting still and quiet). Olivia also recorded some of her observations from watching the bird feeder in our backyard. The best time to watch is in the mornings. We plan to do lots more birdwatching once warmer weather returns. Stay tuned for pictures of some of our common visitors tomorrow. The pictures at the top right were part of our discussion on aerodynamics and flight.
Here are our minibooks on the Ostrich and the Bee Hummingbird. The top right shows some types of bird feathers and functions. The minibook at the bottom is were she recorded what she learned about the differences in males and females.
The book at the top is a story that she read and then identified the parts of the bird. The flap book at the bottom contains our bible verse. Matthew 6:26 (although you should read verse 25-34) We don't need to worry. God is our provider and he knows our needs. We can trust him.
Here is a lapbook I made for Gabe. We read Feathers for Lunch by Lois Ehlert so that is where many of his activities come from. He is learning to identify his letters and even knows some sounds. So here we are reinforcing Bb. Then he has his copy of the bible verse. A child is never too young to begin instilling the truth of God's word in his heart.
There are minibooks covering counting, colors, and positions. The bird in the nest comes out and can be moved around. The game on the bottom left was used for colors and matching like birds (there are two of each).
Here are Gabe's copies of the poems and songs on the back of his book. Gabe just loves music, rhymes, and fingerplays

We made birds nest from chow mein noodles, shredded wheat, and melted peanut butter and chocolate. The eggs are jelly beans. We were talking about Robins that day so that is why we have blue eggs.

Here is our second nest. This day we played a game. The kids made bird masks (sorry, no pictures) and then had a meal of seeds, nuts, and dried fruit. They then had to go outside and gather materials to build a nest. (I planted fake grass and sticks around and we used the pb/chocolate "mud" again) Then they used playdough to make eggs for their nests. Then they received a bird. I believe Olivia made some worms for her bird to eat or feed her babies. Also, if you are wondering about the big leaf...It is providing shade to the bird as she sits on her eggs. :)

Here is Olivia doing some bird watching. We made fake binoculars out of paper towel tubes. While they don't actually work like binoculars, they do help her to focus on an area. She has a very hard time sitting still for long as you may well imagine. She will be getting a real pair of binoculars soon and we will be doing more bird watching when the weather warms up a little. Olivia's favorite, as I mentioned, are hummingbirds. We put a hummingbird feeder in the backyard but it was not very popular unfortunately. We are hoping for better success in the spring.

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