May we are following an interest in birds, particularly beaks and their function. The other day E and V had a disagreement about robins and why we haven’t been seeing them at our bird feeder. I started to explain how robins eat worms and insects. “Why they not eat seeds?” (Yes, they are starting to ask more questions! So exciting as this will really help in what we learn about and following their interests.) Their beaks are designed to meet the needs of their diet.
While I searched for books I had to be a bit cautious of what we purchased. While we regularly borrow from the library, also enjoy adding to our personal library as this collection will be especially useful once they are reading and doing their own research. Google is wonderful but it’s so important to learn also learn about identifying proper recourses and that can be a bit more challenging–you see even adults find this difficult with the amount of misinformation being spread too often.
As petrol prices have increased, as well as inflation in general, we have had to make changes to our budget. I could easily not share this, but I think it’s important as we aren’t the only ones affected. Too often people are led to believe they need all the resources and all the materials in order to properly homeschool their children, and that’s simply not the case. We decreased our entertainment a bit to make up for increased food prices. We’d rather adjust from within before we decrease what we gift–if we are feeling the pinch I can only imagine what’s it’s like for non-profits that rely on donations. So I wanted to practice a bit more caution when purchasing a book that wasn’t just about beaks, but other bird functions as well, as I’m sure those questions are about to come. Again, the library is fantastic and I’m sharing in preparation for the future.
This month is coming a little late as the book I originally ordered was horrible. The book we are going to use is “Beaks!” It goes into just the right amount of depth for young children.
Content warning: While we talk about how birds evolve to match the needs of their diet and such, I know that many prefer to avoid such terminology. This book has a page that talks about how beaks change over time. Again, while this isn’t a problem for us, I want to be respectful and mindful of others.
Each week, as we look at different beak types, we will introduce a mini-activity that will allow E and V to have hands-on experience with these types of beaks. We will also visit the museum, where they have a variety of different birds, and the zoo, to see beaks in action.
Week one: Small beaks–cone-shaped for seeds and thin, pointed for insects.
We will look at robins, as we see them around the house, how their beaks (thin and pointed) are designed for insects and how the chickadee beak is cone-shaped, perfect for seeds.
For this mini-activity, there will be a bowl of sunflower seeds and another filled with edible larva (feel free to use gummy worms if you find that more comfortable). Tweezers will represent thin pointed beaks that are able to reach for insects and clothespins to represent the chickadee.
Week two: Hooked beaks.
Hawks, owls, and eagles. These beaks are designed to grip and tear as they eat fish and small animals.
For this mini-activity, we could use chicken/tuna and two forks. But rather we are going to use scissors and felt.
Week three: Stabbing beaks.
Heron. They use their long beaks to grab fish from the water.
For this mini-activity, there will be a bowl of larva and chopsticks.
Week four: Filter / scoping beaks.
Flamingos, ducks, and pelicans. Pelicans use their beaks as a great big spoon to scoop up fish and water drains from their pouch. Ducks and flamingos filter water allowing vegetation to stay and water to filter out.
For this mini-activity, we will use a large bowl filled with water and a small colander. Sprinkling the water with sunflower seeds we will try the colander and the scoop to gather seeds.
Week five: Long beaks that probe.
Hummingbirds use their long beaks to drink nectar from flowers.
For this mini-activity, we will use a straw, to represent the beak and a tall glass of water with an inch of water at the bottom.
With each beak, we introduced a mini-activity. Here we will allow practice with all the “beak” types to have a better understanding and compare them to each other. While the spoon may gather a little bit of water from a glass, is that better than a straw?
We will also turn it into a game. They have stuffed birds and Toob birds that could represent hatchlings that they need to feed. We’ll place the hatchlings on one end of a room and the food at the other. Armed with the appropriate “beaks” they can be in charge of gathering food.
Again, you may have noticed that this month looks a bit different. We will be spending more time outdoors, likely looking for birds.
“There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature; to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature. That the child may better understand and participate in the marvelous things which civilization creates”.Maria Montessori
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Wednesday: An outing to the museum to look at the beaks up close.Thursday:
Friday:Week three: Scooping beaks.
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