Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bird Unit: Co-op

I am soooo excited that we are now a part of a once-a-month My Father’s World Adventures co-op with three other families. We (obviously) have 4 mom’s and 13, soon to be 14 kids. We decided to focus on science topics and experiments for our get-togethers.

Our first month, was on birds.


We started by having a short discussion on what makes birds unique from other animals. The kids came up with some great answers including: wings, beak, laying eggs, building nest, and claws. IMG_0228

Next I read a section from the Usborne Bird book, and we labeled the parts of a bird.

Treyton and G both had nests to show the other kids, and Treyton also had part of an egg shell he found in the yard. It’s always nice to have real-life examples in front of you to look at.

We also had real feathers (which Treyton had also found in the yard earlier this summer), which the kids closely examined. They then put drops of water on to illustrate how they are water proof, and keep a bird dry in the rain.

I asked the kids if they knew what day God made birds – they did – the 5th day. I told them that God made many different types of birds (there are over 9,000 kinds), and that He made each one different depending on where they live and what they eat.

Next, we did a beak experiment, illustrating this very thing. We had several different types of beaks (chopsticks, clothespins, staple remover, straw and spoon) and bird food (gummy worms, swedish fish in water, peanuts with their shell, sunflower seeds, and marshmallows). IMG_0224The kids tried to eat/pick up the different types of foods with the different types of beaks, to see which beak worked best with which type of food.  IMG_0222It’s always hard to know, how much the kids get out of a certain activity, but the overall goal was to illustrate that God made bird different to help them to survive where ever they live and whatever food they might eat, this experiment certainly did that.

Our “big” activity for the day was dissecting owl pellets. First I explained what they were, and then each of the kids went to work on their own owl pellet. I had copied an Owl Pellet bone Sheet for each of them so they were able to identify many of the bones they found.  

IMG_0225Each of the kids agreed that owl pellets were disgusting, but all of them participated and did a fabulous job! And, I think they all brought home their bones to show their dads later.

IMG_0227Towards the end, we had the kids pair up 5 different types of bird feet printables with the correct bird. This was no problem for any of them, once we explained what the different types of feet were for.


By this times, the kids (the boys, in particular) were restless so we finished with drawing a picture of a bird or a nest in their nature journals or on paper.

I think it went really great. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I was a little nervous to teach a small group of first graders, thinking that I would try to over or under teach, but I think it was just right.


I’m not sure exactly what the preschool group all did, because I obviously wasn’t their teacher, but Lexie is still talking about it – she LOVED getting together with the other kids, the activities they did and especially getting some attention from other moms! IMG_0230

I know for sure that they counted eggs (a.k.a jelly beans), made bird feeders, made feather hats, talked about the letter Bb and read a couple bird books.


It was a great time. I am so happy to be a part of a group that not only uses the same curriculum, but that works so well together. I cannot wait to see what this year holds!!


Bird Feet Printable

Bird Beaks Printable

Bird Beak Adaptation Page (with PDF links)  

Beaks and Feet @ Biology Corner

Bird Unit @ Roger’s Family Blog

1 comment:

Ticia said...

what an awesome coop. We're doing similar for history and geography, but it's a much bigger age range.