I have been very fortunate in my teaching career, to have the opportunity to teach at some pretty amazing schools. I have mentioned in previous posts that at my most recent school, I had access to an outdoor learning space directly from my classroom! Cue drooling!!! It was pretty darn fantastic and allowed us to be outside as much as we wanted or needed to be. (It served as a really great space for the children to run off some energy with my educational assistant at the mast!) We were outside one day and one of the children noticed a nest that was perched just below the roof, tucked into the bricks. Well, this was absolutely fascinating! The watched the nest for a very long time, wondering what kind of bird lived in the nest, if it was coming back, and if their were eggs!
In order to engage them in a discussion about birds and nests a little further, I set up a simple invitation on our discovery table (I happened to have a real nest that I had found at the lake the year prior that I was just waiting to pull out and use in a time like this), and asked the children a question: Whose nest is this?
On the table, along with some pencils and paper, were magnifying glasses. The children were very excited to use the nagnifiers to look closely at parts of the nest.
Mrs. Lynchuk – “What’s this?” pointing to the fluff in the nest
Niklas – “Some cotton stuff!”
Mrs. Lynchuk – “Where would a bird get that?”
Niklas – “Hmmm, well sometimes I’ve found socks or fluff outside.”
Niklas was hard at work drawing the nest and shading pieces of an egg that he had drawn into his picture. “These are the cracks!” he exclaimed.
We decided as we met together later as a group, to read some books about birds and nests. Maybe that would help us to “solve this mystery!” As Grant stated.
Through some individual research, and group research the children learned some exciting facts about birds that they shared with each other. This collection of research also helped to engage the children in an interest of wanting to know how the birds had created the nest to hold their eggs.
After reading the books and writing down our new learning, the children needed to return to the nest to see if what they had learned in the books was true.
Miguel stacked the play eggs on top of each other in the nest, but they kept falling.
Mrs. Lynchuk – Kindergarten! Look what’s happening here. This is very interesting. The eggs are being stacked one on top of another. What does that tell us about how many eggs were in this nest?
Some of the children answered with ideas about that there could only be 3 eggs, because more than that, they didn’t fit without spilling out.
This past week, following up on our wonderings about the nest and eggs, the children created their own nests out of clay. We discussed what we would need to think about as we built a nest for our egg.
“It needs to hold the egg carefully!”
“We need to think like a mommy!”
As the children began to build their nest, they found out that it was more difficult than they once thought. Grant wanted to shape his nest so that it could close over his egg and hold it in tightly. Lillian reminded Grant that if he did that, then the baby bird wouldn’t be able to hatch. Grant re-shaped his nest to make a cozy, safe place for his egg.
Dominic – “Look! If the bird stands up, there’s room for it. And the mom and dad!
“I need a ledge!”
Kiara added detail by scrapping with a ruler and pushing with her finger on the edges and inside of her nest.
Aysha rolled her clay carefully, before shaping it.
Mrs. Lynchuk – “Why did you make it this way?”
Aysha – “If the bird came out, it would have room to sleep!”
Through this work, the children shared personal stories of their experiences with birds, when they have heard baby birds chirping, or have seen adult birds gathering food for their chicks. It was exciting to see the children making connections between their home experiences and their school life, gathering prior knowledge to answer questions and provide new learning for others.
When children are given the opportunity to explore and discover their own path for learning, I always find that they plan and create things that exceed my imagination. I loved how their little nests came together, each one unique and different, just like in nature. Beautiful.
Here are some books that we used to help guide our research.
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