We are excited to welcome Karen of With Love Teach to our Exploring Creation with Hands-on Learning for Kids series on CMN. Karen will share with us some great activities for exploring birds and fish.
Genesis 1: 20-23
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”
So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”
And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
My class and I love zoology and botany, and this time of the year is perfect to focus on the two subject, we are not lucky to get all four seasons but we can see a lot more birds and a small change in the color of the leaves. We see a few different birds that we don’t get to see in other months so we study birds and leaves around Easter. Oh birds … the color in the feathers and the patterns are just so beautiful, we create a lot of lesson and activities to go with the unit, another excuse to spend some time outside.
I start the unit by asking the children to tell me everything they know about birds, some of the responses are really funny, but let the imagination fly. I also introduce the bird puzzle and matching cards. I have different sets of matching cards, and a good one is from The Helpful Garden.
Birds belong to the vertebrate group because they have bones, and a unique characteristic about them is the feathers. All birds have feathers, so if it has feathers it is a bird and belongs to the bird group. There are great varieties of birds, all are fascinating creatures and each species is different from each other, they eat different food, and create different habitats according to where they are native from. Birds are made of hallow bones and feathers, meaning they are very light in weight which allows them to fly, stand on electrical wires, and thin tree branches.
Parts of a Bird
We have 3 part cards with all the parts of the birds and we use them to make booklets. You can find a great set of printable 3 part bird cards here.
I try to incorporate as many subject areas with the unit as I can; last year I came up with the idea of making a bird feeder with the class, and we tallied how many birds showed up. Here is what you need to make the bird feeder, and here is my tally sheet.
- Egg carton
- Yarn/twine/wire (whatever you have to tie)
- Bird seeds mixture
This activity leads us to egg-citing adventures with eggs. We like to add a little bit of everything and a very cool experiment the kids enjoy is the Floating egg experiment. We usually do this in circle time and I like to refresh my kindergartens about density (which we have covered by now) and just let the little ones take in as much info as they can.
- 2 raw eggs
- 2 glasses of water
Here’s what to do:
Fill one of the drinking glasses almost to the top with plain tap water. Gently drop one of the eggs into the water-filled glass. It sinks right to the bottom! Now, fill the second drinking glass half-full with water. Add four tablespoons of table salt to the water, and stir well. Slowly fill up the cup with tap water almost to the top (the idea is not disturb the salt water mixture). Gently place the second egg into the salt water solution… it floats!
We enjoy taking “nature walks” (to our playground) and we take some time to collect feathers; once in the classroom we put them down and carefully analyze them and try to predict from which type of bird they came from. Don’t be afraid to explore … have fun!
I like to sit in circle time and ask the kids what they know of a particular subject, when it comes to animals the answers are really good since they are great observers. The fish belongs to the vertebrate group and are cold-blooded, which means their bodies adjust to the temperature of the environment, if the water is cold – the body of the fish gets cold inside and out and same if the water is hot. Not every animal that lives in the water is a fish, so we classify:
It must have 3 things for it to be a fish … lives in the water, has gills, and has a fin? It must have all 3, if it has fins, is a fish!
Parts of a Fish
I start with the fish puzzle to identify basic parts along with the 3 part cards, or maybe some picture matching. With the 3 part cards we learn the name of the parts of the fish so we make booklets, my class spends a lot of time coloring in all the parts and making sure they have the right name.
Where Fish Live
With the puzzle maps or the globe (which I made out of felt) we like to identify rivers and oceans, and we take the time to find out where different types of fish come from, we look at the colors, and lengths of all kinds of fishes. For my kindergartens I like for them to add a sentence in the back of their booklet. They love practical life so much that I also add a fish and a star fish transferring lesson, they all love it.
I incorporate the book “Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister or “Swimmy” by Leo Lionni, just to reinforce that all the fishes out there are different, even if they are from the same family; we make time for a fish craft, where the kids are free to create a fish with a paper plate and add any materials to the fish’s body. We have done water colors, markers, color pencils, and tissue paper, get creative and have fun!
My name is Karen, an army bride to be and an early childhood Montessori teacher. I was born and raised in Colombia and came to the U.S.A in search of a dream and to better my future. I have an amazing fiancé that I met while finishing my B.S degree, and a lovely curious dog named Monty.
The purpose of With Love Teach is to share my work and knowledge with you, hear thoughts and ideas of the things you do at home to school your little ones, and to help each other out to achieve a great education in our communities. Most of the materials I use in my classroom have been purchased, but a lot of the lessons are hand made to fit the need I see in my children.
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This was such a lovely lesson on birds and fish! There are so many ideas to use that really get the child’s mind thinking about the beauty of nature. Thanks so much for sharing this with us on CMN.
Hi! I’m Ms.Melody, I am so glad that you enjoyed the lessons I created. Thank you for sharing them with other Montessorians!