One of the best ways we can help the world is by teaching children about science and ways to use this knowledge to aid the planet from a young age. Kiddie Science, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization and one of our 2015 Mini Grant winners, has been doing this since its establishment in 2013. They state that it is their mission “to empower children to apply critical thinking skills to their world and foster a lifetime love of science”.
On Thursday, April 9th, Kiddie Science hosted a pop-up science workshop at the Audubon Center at Prospect Park that was free to all participants. About 60 families participated in the event, with children of all ages. Their event, called Exploring Urban Birds, allowed participants to learn about bird characteristics, explore their adaptations, create an art project, and run their own bird survey in the park.
The Exploring Urban Birds workshop was centered around the question “What is a bird?”. It was identified that birds are living creatures but two other characteristics that all birds have are feathers and a beak. There were a series of fun, interactive activities throughout the event that helped the children learn more about these unique characteristics.
There was a hands-on activity involving tweezers and tongs in learning more about bird beaks. Not all bird beaks are the same, so the different bird beak shapes and sizes fits the function that they serve; a bird’s beak is specialized for its food and environment! The children were given many different sized tongs and tweezers and were asked to pick up a variety of different objects that a bird might want to pick up with its beak. The children learned that some “beaks” were better at picking up certain objects than others!
The kids also had a worksheet where they could “build-a-bird”. They were given a basic template of a bird that was missing a beak and were asked to draw in the beaks they thought the bird might need. They could also glue on some feathers or color in their birds!
Afterwards, the fun moved outdoors. Although it was a gray and chilly day, the 50 kids who participated in the birdwatching had a blast! The viewing area was near the Prospect Park Lake. The children observed for a total of 10 minutes and afterwards tallied up the birds they saw using Celebrate Urban Birds’ super cool tally sheet! No one had birdwatched before, but that didn’t stop anyone. With a little help from the pictures on the sheet and some practice, everyone was able to have a great time identifying the birds!
Recently, the Audubon Center has had less hours open to the public. Kiddie Science’s activity was able to bring the community back in touch with nature, something that everyone had been eagerly awaiting. Prospect Park, located in the heart of Brooklyn, is an oasis of nature in a very urban environment. This large, green space allows tons of different species of birds and other animals to thrive. With the help of Kiddie Science and the Audubon center, the Exploring Urban Birds activity was able to educate and reconnect the youth of Brooklyn to the nature around them!
Ms. Carmen, Executive Director and Lead Science Teacher for Kiddie Science, would like to extend her thanks on behalf of Kiddie Science to the Audubon center for being so accommodating to the event, opening the entire second floor of the center for the various activities.
Check out some cool pictures from Exploring Urban Birds below!
For more information on this great organization, visit Kiddie Science’s website here.