Promoting Professional Development and Best Practice in EE
E-STEM in the Classroom: Building Bird Nests
Shortly after premiering a new program called Bird Nest Exploration at my nature park, a local STEM lab teacher contacted me. She was just beginning a unit on building bird nests in her lab and asked if I could bring my program to her school for 5 second grade classes. I enthusiastically agreed, and set off with several boxes of nests, showing a variety of building techniques, nest strength and materials. The kids and I examined the nests, talking about what makes a good nest and comparing the properties of different building materials.
After interacting with lots of examples of real bird nests, the students used the Engineering Design Process displayed on the wall of their classroom to build their own nests, testing and revising to perfect their designs.
The bird nest lesson fulfilled a state science standard for second grade. Bringing the nests into the lab allowed the children to touch and examine real objects from nature, an opportunity that is increasingly rare for our youth. Bird nests easily attract attention and spark the imagination. They provide a versatile starting point for a variety of science, engineering and math lessons, as well as being a natural fit for projects employing the Engineering Design Process. This lesson is easily modified for any grade in the pK-12 spectrum and works well as a mixed-age public program in an informal setting.
Have you been contemplating venturing into E-STEM? This program’s simplicity makes it an easy first step your audience is sure to love!