1. Use the Illinois’ Natural Resources Trading Cards from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources or other publications to show the students photographs of birds that often visit bird feeders in Illinois.
2. Watch the video podcast that accompanies this month’s Kids for Conservation® topic.
3. Use the information presented above and the following suggestions to help you meet some of the Benchmarks of the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards. Please do not be limited by these suggestions or by these Standards. The information can be used in several subject areas.
Goal 11, Learning Standard 11.A: Develop beginning skills in the use of science and engineering practices, such as observing, asking questions, solving problems and drawing conclusions.
Students should be able to observe birds at your feeding station. Ask them to watch quietly. When you are finished, take the students to a location away from the feeding station and ask them to talk about what they observed. What questions do they have? Make a list of questions. If any of the questions can be answered by further observation of the feeding station, do so. Let them build models to represent their ideas. If applicable, let them test the ideas and collect data. Involve math and computations skills. Describe the results and provide explanations.
Students want to know why the birds have different types of beaks.
Have the students observe birds eating at the feeding station. Be sure that you are offering a variety of foods. Ask them to see how each type of bird eats and what each type of bird eats. See if they can make generalizations about the bigger birds eating bigger foods or the birds with thicker beaks eating bigger or harder foods that may need to be cracked open. Have them observe how each type of bird uses its beak.
Goal 12, Learning Standard 12.A: Understand that living things grow and change.
Goal 12, Learning Standard 12.B: Understand that living things rely on the environment and/or others to live and grow.
If possible, have the students observe birds at the feeding station. If it is not possible, show them a video of birds eating at a feeder. Let the students tell you what they notice about these animals. By watching these animals, students will be able to describe some of their basic traits and needs and learn to respect these creatures.
Goal 13, Learning Standard 13.A: Understand rules to follow when investigating and exploring.
Goal 13, Learning Standard 13.B: Use tools and technology to assist with science and engineering investigations.
If you are going to observe birds in person with the students, they should be aware of rules that must be followed. These are wild animals. They should not be fed. They should not be touched. You should stay far enough away to watch them without disturbing them. Talking should be in low tones. There should be no yelling or throwing. See the Field Trip Tips Web page
for more information about taking students on a field trip.
Depending on what questions the students develop and test, they may need to use scientific and technological tools to help them discover the answers.