Birdhouse Creation

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SWBAT construct a birdhouse using the engineering design process.

Big Idea

Helping birds to survive and reproduce

Setting the Stage

Next Generation Science Standards:

This lesson addresses 2.LS4-1and 2.LS4.2 by helping students understand that they can help the environment by providing shelter and food for organisms.  In creating a birdhouse or bird feeder, students are helping with the growth and reproduction of birds. Also, this lesson permits students to create their own prototype using the engineering design process.  They can then observe how the birds interact with the prototype. 

Science and Engineering Practices:

Students are engaged in developing and using models. They create a simple structure of a birdhouse for a schoolyard community. 

Crosscutting Concepts:

This lesson connects to the concept "Structure and Function".  The shape and stability of structures of natural and designed objects are related to their function(s).  It is imperative that students comprehend that animals use natural resources to create their shelter. However, students can assist with animal habitats by building a structure. They can use recyclable materials to create a structure that can work for animals such as birds.

Prior Knowledge:

Students have some prior knowledge about birds habitats. My class observed two videos on YouTube about bird habitats.  Also, they understand that people can create homes for animals in their barnyard or backyard. They have worked with the engineering design process. However, they continue to need to work with the process. This lesson helps with strengthening that area. 

Parental Involvement:

In the weekly newsletter, I ask parents to donate items for students to create a birdhouse such as: string, aluminum foil, aluminum pie pans, wooden spoons,  Popsicle sticks/tongue depressors, and bird seeds. 








10 minutes

At their desks, students will sing a song that the class sings at the opening of each science lesson.  This song motivates and engages my Junior Scientists at the beginning of each science lesson.

I call on students to read our "I Can" statement for the day. While using a microphone, a scientist says, "I can construct a bird house using the engineering design process." The "I Can" statement helps students take ownership of the  lesson as they put standards in to context. The other students praise the student that reads the "I Can" statement by clapping.  I encourage students to give each other praise to boost their self-esteem.

I review with the students what we have talked about in regard to habitats and how animals create particular structures for their habitats. Then I asked these questions, "what do birds need in their habitat? How do birds create their bird houses?" Students are then asked "what can you to do to create a home for birds?" Students say, "build a bird house."   



40 minutes

To address the science and engineering practice, developing and using models, students use the steps of the engineering design process.  They are asked to recall the engineering design steps: ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve. They are asked to explain each step so the class has a clear understanding what to do at each step. Students are reminded about safety rules and group rules.

My students proceed to their group tables when I say "we are on the move" and they stand and sing, We are on the Move-song. This routine helps my students to move to their table with very little distraction. This also helps my auditory learners who enjoying singing as well as my kinesthetic children that enjoy moving.  

Here is the process that I lead with the students..... 

When students get to their tables, they begin to assign their roles: a person to lead, record, measure, and report. I assign the leader which is one of my advanced students. Leadership qualities are present. They put on their group labels with a clothes pin to ensure that I know each child's role.  I want all my students to take ownership of their learning, so assigning roles permits students to develop confidence in their roles as well as use their strengths to accomplish their group's goals.  All hands must be on deck.  The groups are reminded of the group rules. The group rules are located at their table so they can reference to them.

The Engineering Design Lab sheet is located at their table. Scientists use lab sheets to record their information and to assist with their investigation. Therefore, the lab sheet helps students to begin to work and think like a scientist.

Students are informed that they will complete the engineering design process.

Groups are encouraged to observe the materials area. They ask questions about the materials that they see. This helps with the 1st step of the engineering design process: ask questions. They record at least 2 questions on their sheets. I  provide the students with 5 minutes to assist with staying on task. I permit some groups to share their questions with the groups.

Students are informed that they will design a birdhouse with food to assist our school community. Also, they are informed that they can select items from the materials section. However, there are some restrictions. You can only get 1 empty milk carton or paper towel tube, unlimited Popsicle sticks, 1 bag of bird seeds, 1 piece of string, 1 black marker, and 1 pair of scissors.  I permit some groups to share their questions with the groups. If they want me to cut or punch a hole, I informed them that I can do it if they measure it and using a black marker to show where to cut.  

Next, groups are encouraged to imagine what they will design by discussing it in their groups. They are reminded to respect everyone's voice. Then the students sketch their design on the lab sheet. Once they have sketched their design, groups can select a peer to gather their supplies. Once students get their materials, they create their birdhouse that feeds birds.

As groups collaborate, I play the role of the facilitator. I ask the groups: How did you design your creation? Why you use certain materials? Also, I am monitoring group interactions to ensure that they are collaborating collectively.



15 minutes

Students return to their desks and groups present their creation . After the group presents, students share advice to their peers such as: What could be improved?; What could be done differently?; What did you like about the group's design?

Once each group shares, groups are informed that they can return back to their area to make improvements.

Students are then called back to the carpet to share their final creations. 

At the end of the lesson, I collect students lab sheet to make sure that they followed the steps such as ask questions, sketch and drew their design, and made improved (if necessary). Also, I observe the group's birdhouse to make sure that it could be used by an actual bird.