Welcome to the world of birding!
Over the last few weeks the Fourth Grade has been getting to know some of the animals that live with us, but who hover just out of reach.
After the grounding work of the Third Grade curriculum, Fourth Grade moves on to study our relationship with the animal world around us, culminating in their Man and Animal block. In the garden, we use this opportunity to look up at the creatures who work and play alongside us every day.
February is a great time for bird watching in our region. The deciduous trees are bare, allowing for easy spotting and clear views. It's also a great time to see migratory birds moving through our area, making their way north after a winter in the sun. February also finds local birds looking for mates, which means lots of fun activity like nest building and dynamic mating behaviour.
In preparation for bird identification, the kids practice observational skills by playing Bird Spy Bingo. They then list all the birds they know and sort them into major bird groups to help differentiate them by shape and physical characteristics. They learn that bill shape relates to the type of food the bird eats. They then learn to identify some of the birds we see on the farm.
Students work on developing their observational skills during these exercises, including patience and remaining quiet (parents: you're welcome!). While looking for feathered friends, students also learn about their natural environment indirectly. They start to notice things like leaf buds emerging, different ways that branches grow, and what kinds of trees the birds prefer. Many questions arise in the course of each class, leading to fun (and occasionally silly) discussions.
Here are some of the birds the Fourth Grade has seen around the farm:
Red tailed hawks
White crowned sparrows