A year ago, MAS initiated a new grant program for teachers. Five CMS teachers were awarded $500 to purchase resources to help integrate birds into their science curriculum. At the end of the school year they updated us on the impact those resources had on their students. Here's what they had to say...
Stephanie Reid, STEAM Science Studio Teacher
Torrence Creek Elementary School
Thanks for making the MAS grant available to teachers. Our kids and teachers have thoroughly enjoyed using the supplies and learning more about birds and their environment. We were able to purchase bird skeletons, owl pellets, miscellaneous bird feathers, small toy birds, bird houses, bird feeders and seed, along with binoculars, and a paper dissection bird kit.
First grade has an English Language bird unit, so the feeders and seed were shared with them to maintain them, but placed in areas where all grade levels have access. First grade also dissected the owl pellets which went along nicely with the story they were reading on snowy owls. Second grade is working on pollinators, so they also used the binoculars to spot hummingbirds along with bees in our garden area. They even made a bee hotel and placed them near the bird houses in hopes of seeing more pollinators.
Third and fifth graders used the skeletons and compared them to deer and human skeletons during the musculoskeletal system unit. We'll use additional owl pellets to compare those as well. The bird houses have been placed around campus thanks to the first graders putting them together. We're still waiting on the new residents.
Multiple grade levels have enjoyed looking at the feathers under a microscope and viewing the toy birds when talking about identifying factors such as colors and beak types. We've still got more to do, but we're off to a great start thanks to the Mecklenburg Audobon Society! Thanks again
Brian Myszka, Teacher, Expanded Impact 2
Governor’s Village STEM Academy(Lower Campus)
After attending a workshop presented by the Mecklenburg Audubon Society, I wrote a unit studying birds for my Science Lab. I also made sure each lesson touched upon the science standards taught in their regular classroom. I taught these lessons to first and third grade students to see which group had a more positive response so I could present it in the future.
I applied for a grant to purchase replica bird skulls of some of the common birds of Mecklenburg County and North Carolina. These skulls were to be used during a lesson I presented from the Mecklenburg Audubon Society about the function of a particular bird beak which was very helpful in gaining student understanding.
The students really enjoyed the lessons each time we met. Each class saw the students highly engaged and active learners. The very first lesson about James Audubon hooked the students for the following weeks. Unfortunately, the owl pellet dissection was unable to occur because the owl pellets I had for this lesson went missing somewhere in the school and were never found.
Overall, this bird unit was a huge success. I have decided to present this unit to first grade next year because one quarter of their reading curriculum is studying birds. I plan to start this unit before their classroom study to provide the students with background knowledge so they will be successful in the class. I will also be adding some additional lessons over the summer.
I want to thank the Mecklenburg Audubon Society for the workshop and the slideshow. I also want to thank them for the grant.
Joan Eynon, Science Teacher
Montclaire Elementary School
Firstly, many thanks to the Audubon Society for this grant. Once notified that I’d won, I wrote a 6 week scheme of work to deliver to third graders in our science lab. We observed bird outdoors, we compared and contrasted birds, we examined bird beaks and tried to imagine what type of food each bird might eat. We designed and created bird feeds, bought bird seed and hung various feeders outdoors. I used the grant money to buy bird skulls and while they arrived about three months after our unit of study, we still observed and marveled at how small some of them are and how intricate the shapes were.
The students and I are ever so grateful for the grant and look forward to improving our scheme of work for the next school year to teach in our new outdoor classroom. Thank you to all at Mecklenburg Audubon Society.
Melissa Jackson, Science Teacher
Park Road Montessori
The money that you gifted to Park Road Montessori was used for the purpose stated in our application. We used the money to purchase birdseed for two, Squirrel Buster feeders, placed across campus. One feeder was in front of the Primary building, which houses our PreKindergarten and Kindergarten classes. The other feeder was placed near an Upper Elementary building, where fourth, fifth, and sixth graders learn.
Primary students could view the feeder out of the windows of two classrooms. These
children could also view the feeder when they are outside for recess. When I have these students for science class, I model how to look for, notice, and identify birds on our campus. Our campus has forest, field, and garden habitats. The feeders that Mecklenburg Audubon Society provided seed for, re-enforce the birdwatching lessons I do with the youngest students in science class.
The feeder at the Upper Elementary building was used for Project Feeder Watch. I introduced students to the study, and went outside during the morning to record the birds present. The feeder was placed at the edge of a natural area with scrub and mature hardwoods. The students, new to birdwatching, were able to see many species that the feeder attracted with the seed provided by your organization.
We are very grateful to the Mecklenburg Audubon Society for providing birdseed for our birdfeeders the past school year of 2022-2023.