Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Baby Birds Used to Practice Observation Skills

Caleb, my 5 year old noticed on one of our walks that there was a nest on some outdoor stairs. When we went to investigate, we saw three baby blue robin eggs. So we made it a point every week, to visit and photograph their changes. We couldn't believe our luck that the nest location allowed us such a close and personal look into this bird's family life!     

In the photo below, we caught one of the parents feeding the babies! Caleb was very touched by this. We waited patiently for a chance to go visit the nest. 

Once we got up there, we saw three very hungry babies. Their eyes were not open yet, but they sensed our presence and were chirping very loud hoping to get some treats. 

Caleb very much wanted to feed them, but I assured him that his parents had the job covered! 

Making good observations begins with truly studying something, so our observations began with me just asking questions:
  • What color and shape are the baby's beaks?
  • What do you notice about the nest? Where do you think the materials came from?
  • What do you notice about the baby's face?


  • Can you see feathers? Where?
  • Do you think these babies could fly? Why or Why not?
  • Look at the skin, why are there stripes? 

  • Why do you think the mommy and daddy robin put the mud for the nest on the outside, but the straw on the inside?

  •  Can you see where the wings will be? What about the eyes? 

The next time we took photos, the baby birds looked much older. Their eyes were open, and they aware of us being around. I love the photo below because the feathers are starting to become more pronounced. 

So in our lab notebook, (which is a composition notebook; the same one we use for our corn unit), we've been recording our observations. Our entries, at this point, are dictated to me.  I'll ask Caleb what changes we saw compared to last time, and I'll enter these into the lab notebook. I've also printed off some of the photos above and we've glued them into the notebook. Then he labeled different things in the photographs. So it has become a lesson on using a ruler to make straight lines and a handwriting lesson too. Words to label: (after I wrote them out first) were: baby bird, eye, beak, nest, and wing. I'm learning that practicing handwriting and other skills are met with less resistance if there is a purpose in them.  And when I think about it, that makes sense. Why write the letter "W" 15 times for no reason? There's no context, no purpose. Its way more fun to write the words BIRD, EYE, BEAK, etc.. when you have a reason to! I need to remember to do this more often! 

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