Instituto Mixto de Educación Básica en la Cooperativa Ixlú

The Instituto Mixto de Educación Básica de la Cooperativa Ixlú, an elementary school, in Flores, Guatemala, organized a a week-long event for students and their families in July. The activities were focused on art, gardening, and bird identification. Games such as bird bingo, habitat discovery, obstacle games, and a scavenger hunt all made learning even more fun. Many of the activities and games were part of the International BirdSleuth curriculum, a curriculum developed at the Lab to promote educational activities about birds, their habitats, conservation, and bird citizen science in Latin American schools.

During mini-lessons in each module, participants shared personal experiences with local birds in their everyday lives, the importance of birds in nature, how diverse birds are, and what they do for our communities.

The students created personal bird journals for sketching and making notes about their bird observations. Kids “spied” on the birds with binoculars and field guides and were able to start naming familiar local species. They noted that sometimes the males and females of the same species look different, which is called sexual dimorphism.

One of the most popular activities was creating an art gallery. Each student picked a favorite local bird, learned about its body parts, and how to identify its silhouette. Afterward, the students drew their bird and presented information about the species to the class. Their drawings were hung outside to showcase the students’ artistic talents. In a habitat-creating workshop, the students learned about container gardening and how to reuse common objects found in their homes, such as tires and plastic containers, to create habitats for their bird friends.

Many migratory species pass through or remain in Guatemala during the winter months of Northern America. The students learned about what migration means for the birds, including the potential dangers of traveling so far from their summer homes. They worked together to brainstorm solutions to help reduce the negative effects on these migratory species.

At the end of the fun-filled week, parents were invited to a closing ceremony where the fantastic work of the students was showcased, including the art gallery and a beautiful new garden. Everyone received certificates showing they finished the program. The school’s director and teachers were recognized for all the help and resources that went into making this event such a great success.