A Study of Birds

For the last several years we have done most of our elementary science as part of a homeschool co-op. This is a perfect arrangement for me; I can enjoy nature study and reading about nature with my children in between our meetings, but then once or twice a month we meet with our co-op to go over the science experiments.

This past year, we studied birds with the younger students, and it was a wonderful exploration of our feathered friends. We used the book, Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day as a spine, and checked out lots of books from the library about the topics we were studying. After we read each book, we would write a narration about what we learned and then paint or draw a picture.

We also did some fun projects, such as building nests in the trees with found materials, creating these nests out of melted marshmallows and chow mien noodles, and making bird feeders with recycled bottles. We also collected feathers and diagrammed them, and made a diagram of an egg. There were so many interesting ways to make this study come alive for my children.

Although we read many beautiful books this year, one of my favorites was "Bird Watch", which was a book of poetry about birds. We also used the book, "Nature Anatomy" extensively. It was a perfect inspiration for our nature journaling activities.

We also watched a few movies about birds, including, "Winged Migration" and for the older kids, "The Big Year" When we study a subject, I love to include as many types of information as possible, including fiction works, non-fiction, nature guides, posters, and experiments.

This was by far, the most interesting year of science we have had, and also the easiest. By focusing on interesting literature, and experiments, and ignoring extras such as worksheets, we kept learning and having fun at the same time. Now if I can only find a way to make this happen with math!

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