Montessori Method: Birds as a Springtime Science Unit

March 21, 2017

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Think of a perfect Spring day. In your mind imagine a light breeze, bright sunshine, and the sound of birds. Think of all the things you learned just by being outside as a child. As Winter comes to a close, we should look to what we can do to help our students learn everywhere in the Spring. Last month we wrote about using the garden as a place of learning; this month we’re going to explore how we can safely learn about birds.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

For children of all ages it is important to help create a context for their learning. Many younger children will have interacted very little with birds. You can begin a unit about birds by drawing on past experiences. Do they have a bird at home? Have they seen them at the park? How about in the garden? Give students an opportunity to share what they know, let them be a part of the learning process.

Talk about what an average day looks like for your child. What do they think an average birds day looks like? What about the life of a bird? There are a bunch of great manipulatives out there which can help you start talking about the lifecycle of a bird. Scholastic has some wonderful printables which can be cut out to be arranged in the right order, and then colored by the child. To learn some facts about the different parts of the lifecycle, we found these printables about chickens which can be cut out by the learner. Adapting them would be a fun way to create something special.

Hands On

Bird Watching is a great way to get some hands on activities for students. Here is a printable bird watching notebook. If you’re willing to buy a book about birds, this can be a great way to engage students fine motor skills, artistic expression, and research skills all in one. And the price? Just a pair of binoculars, and some bird feed. Once you’ve got a bird feeder set up in the garden, your child can log their daily observations, and then look up what kinds of birds they are seeing.

Moving Forward

Springtime offers countless opportunities to engage students natural curiosity about the outside world. Use the most of this time to help your learners discover where their passions are. By engaging their passions, you will inspire a love of learning which will serve them well in the long term. We’ve included some links below which may help you plan out a unit on birds that you can work on over the weekends, or breaks. Make sure your child knows they can learn everywhere.

Montessori Mama has a wonderful paper bag nest-building activity.
Here is an awesome puzzle for helping learn about the anatomy of a bird.
Here are a ton of DIY bird feeder designs.

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