Saturday, October 16, 2010

Preschool - Birds, Week 1

Day 1: What is a bird?

We started out with the book Bird.

It's not very young child friendly as far as the text goes, but I just used the pictures and talked about them in words Alex would understand.

We talked about bird feathers and how they help a bird fly and keep them warm in the winter and keep some birds dry.  We talked about different beaks and how they are used to eat the different foods birds eat.  We talked about different feet - webbed, claws - and what they're used for.  We talked about their tails and how they are used.  We talked about some of their habits - migrating, changing colors, eating.

Then we read the book Birds.

This one was more on Alex's level.

Then we did a fingerplay that goes like this:

Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill,
One named Jack and one named Jill.
Fly away Jack.  Fly away Jill.
Come back Jack.  Come back Jill.

You pretend your two index fingers are the birds and put them behind your back when they fly away and bring them back out when they come back.  Simple, but Alex thought it was fun

Then we read the book Flap Your Wings.

This book would have been better on the day we talked about eggs, but I didn't realize that until after I read it.  And since Alex is right now sitting on the floor behind me reading it himself, I'm not going to complain.

Then we made a bird book.  I copied it out of our science book.  Each page has different birds on it.  Some needed beaks added, some needed branches to sit on, and some needed their wings glued on.  We looked up each bird and made sure they were all colored correctly.  It took a while, but Alex stuck with it.  Then we stapled it all together.

This would also have probably been better next week when we talk about the birds of North America, but oh well.  Everything bird kind of all melds together.

And last but not least, we played a migration game online.  Find it here.  It goes pretty quick so we played it a few times.  I also kept winning so we had to play until Alex won.

Another thing I would have had us do if I didn't think grandpa would freak out about it, we would have spread peanut butter on rice cakes and hung them in the trees outside.  But it would have been messy and attracted animals, and we wouldn't want that.  :)

Day 2: Nests

We started out today with the book Bird again, but this time we looked at the pages about nests.  We followed that up with the book Birds, Nests, and Eggs.

We focused just on the nests on each page today.  We talked about how different birds build different kinds of nests, some out of mud, some out of sticks, some by water, and some up in trees.  Then we used the duvet off my bed and built a nest for Alex.

While he was all curled up and cozy we read the book The Perfect Nest.

Fabulously funny book.  The kids have had me read it to them over and over again.

The we read the book The Magpies' Nest.
It's a story about after the creation of the world the magpies try to teach all the birds how to build a nest, but they don't all listen to all the instructions so they end up making nests all different ways.  It's a cute story and it describes how to build a nest.  So that's what we did next.  We headed outside with the book and followed the instructions on how to build a nest.

We started with a base of a rolled down paper bag and went from there.  We lined it with mud, then sticks, then grass (we used pine needles so as to not pull out the lawn), and then we put some acorn "eggs" in it.  Alex loved this.

Though he was pretty disappointed that we weren't going to build a mud nest on the side of the house like a swallow does.  He was pretty hooked on that idea and it took grandpa telling him he would lose a limb if he built a nest on the side of the house to get him to drop it.  :)  If the weather had been inclement, we would have made rice krispy nests instead.  And that's it for nests!

Day 3:  Eggs

We had big sister in tow for school today thanks to UEA, but we had fun anyway!  We started by talking about where birds come from (eggs), and we looked at pictures of bird eggs in the Bird book.  There are some pretty cool eggs out there in the world.  Did you know there was a bird that lived on Madagascar 700 years ago that laid eggs bigger than any dinosaur egg?  They held over 2 gallons of fluid!!  That'd make quite the omlette!

We talked about how eggs must be kept warm if you want them to hatch.  Then we pulled out the same book again, Birds, and looked at the pages showing baby birds hatching.  It shows step by step how a baby bird hatches out of an egg.  It's pretty cool.

Then we looked through the book Eggs.

The actual text of the book would have been way over the kids' heads, so I just summarized each page for them.  This book talks about other animals that come from eggs too, not just birds.

Then it was science time!  I had a hardboiled egg for each kid and we performed a few different tests on them.  First, we put them in a glass of water to see how much water they would displace.  Ella impressed me by being able to say that the reason the water level rises is because the egg pushes the water out of the way.  Then we used our balance to see how many Unifix cubes our eggs weighed.  I purposely picked different sized eggs for the kids so we would have different answers.  Alex's was 17 cubes and Ella's 15.  Then they had to guess how many squares on a grid their egg would cover when traced, then trace their egg and see if they were right.  All of these experiments were recorded on a sheet from our science book.

And then the final test was the taste test, of course.  Perfect snack.

And then since I hadn't showered yet, I sent the kids to watch the Reading Rainbow episode of Rechenka's Eggs.

Later on after lunch (which was supposed to be egg sandwiches but the eggs were consumed after science instead) we went outside and had an egg hunt.  We had a bunch of plastic eggs from Easter so we used those.  We did a couple of rounds and then the kids took over and hid them for each other.  They have been hiding eggs around the house ever since.

And then after that we took the sidewalk chalk outside and drew pretty eggs all over the driveway.  I was going to draw all the different eggs to size so they could see how they compared, but the Bird book did a really good job of that so I just let the kids draw and have fun.

And that's the end of our first week of birds.  More next week!

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