It was still chilly outside when students from Public School 228Q in New York City began observing birds in March. All classes travelled to the playground, and the birders drew pictures and wrote about their observations! Each grade level focused on a different topic; kindergarteners learned about healthy natural habitats, first graders drew observations and wrote about what they wondered, and second graders described how birds grow and change.
The school’s science curriculum also tied in perfectly with the project. Students created “All About” books, many of which celebrated birds! In another lesson, they built towering “nests” made of mathlink cubes and paper cups to explore how some birds are able to build their homes so far from the ground. In a fun classroom contest, the students competed to see how many bird shaped (marshmallow) Peeps would fit in the cup without tipping over… The winners fit eight Peeps in their nest!
During the project, students and teachers worked together to put up posters, install a window bird feeder, and plant seeds from the Celebrate Urban Birds kit! The sunflower seeds were planted in a raised bed to attract birds to the school. Even though a school vote said local birds preferred worms, it became clear when P.S. 228Q put up feeders at the playground that their urban birds love seeds!
P.S. 228Q invited family members for a Parental Engagement night at the school. While enjoying snacks provided by the school, the children showed their parents all that they’d learned. Together, families created canvas paintings, decorated wooden birdhouses, and constructed their own homemade birdhouses out of popsicle sticks! The students were proud artists and conservationists, and even used their new birding skills and knowledge to rescue a fallen House Sparrow nestling and help her recover.
Congratulations and good luck to P.S. 228Q; we hope that your birders are able to continue their important work in the community!