Joe and I just wrapped up a month long unit study on birds. This was our first month using the unit approach as suggested in The Well Trained Mind for 1st grade Science. It was lots of fun for Joe, Jack and myself. It was relaxed and we moved at our own pace. We learned so much and were able to slow down and immerse ourselves in our study.
We used so many books, but some were enjoyed more than others and used all throughout the month. Here they are by title:
- Bird, by David Burnie
- A Nest Full of Eggs
- An Egg is Quiet
- Backyard Birds of Summer
- Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Birds
- Birds of the Carolina’s Field Guide
- Birds, Nests and Eggs
We answered the following questions during the course of our month through reading and simple experiments:
- What do birds eat?
- How do birds stay dry and warm?
- What are some of the different types of bird beaks, and how do they function for eating?
- What are the body parts of a bird?
- What are some different types of bird nests?
- How do eggs hatch, how long does it take?
- How do bird parents care for their young?
We conducted the following experiments.
What do birds eat?
This was one of our experiments from Science Experiments in a Bag. Joe planted birdseed in a plastic cup.
By the next week we had a few sprouts. We have much more now, a cup full!
I printed up an observation sheet for Joe to use to record his Science experiments. Writing this info on his own and even copying it on his own is too much for Joe right now. The Well Trained Mind suggested having a child this age narrate the answers back to you in complete sentences and the parent record them, then, the have the child draw a picture of the experiment. This is the route we are going for now. I’ll know when he’s ready to progress to copywork and/or writing completely on his own.
Our next experiment was How do birds stay dry?
We used feathers, a bowl of water and a bowl of oil.
Joe dipped the feather first into the bowl of water, of course, the feather became wet.
Next, he dipped the feather first into the oil, then, into the water. Of course, the water rolled off and the feather did not become saturated.
Our last experiment was the most fun! It was about Bird Beaks.
I gave Joe and Jack different types of ‘beaks’ and food to pick them up with. They had fun looking at our bird beak printable, and our Big Backyard magazine about bird beaks to see what utensil they should use to eat, crack, and/or pick up different foods. Each food above represented something a bird would eat like worms, seeds, insects, fruit and so forth. They loved this!
For arts/crafts Joe made a yarn nest and model magic bird and eggs.
Jack made a handprint bird and paper plate nest.
I put together a bird sensory bin for Jack.
Joe completed numerous notebooking pages on bird anatomy, feathers, nests, eggs, baby birds and a few birds of his choice. I am going to keep all of his Science notebooking pages in sheet protectors in a large 3 ring binder.
Finally, to document what Joe learned throughout the month in this unit, I printed out a sheet with questions about birds and had him narrate his answers in complete sentences to me. I was surprised and pleased by what he remembered!
We are moving on to space and the solar system for the month of June. I think this will be a great way to cover Science with Joe for quite some time, while pursuing his interests.
For this unit I used the following resources for printables, experiments and crafts:
- Evan Moor Great Science Resource Book
- Rogers Family Blog Bird Unit
- Homeschool Share
- Science Experiments in a Bag
- Chocolate On My Cranium yarn nests
- Handprint Bird
- Totally Tots Bird Sensory Bin
- The Well Trained Mind
I am linking this to Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.