Boston Educators Explore All Things Birds

by Ana Maria Caballero McGuire, Children’s Education Fellow

November 12, 2015

Arboretum educators bird watching

Boston Educators Explore All Things Birds

On Saturday, November 7, Boston educators spent the morning exploring birds and beaks. Longtime volunteer Bob Mayer led teachers on a walk around the Arboretum, explaining how to recognize birds by their shape, coloring, and size. He also shared tips on how to use environmental clues and bird behavior to help identify the bird species. Cardinals, house finches, juncos, black-capped chickadees, and even a yellow-bellied sapsucker were spotted around the bird feeder and during the hour-long walk among the trees. Along the way, Bob also shared some information about binoculars and the exciting world of bird watching.

Back at the Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall, eight stations were set up with simulated foods and bird beak types. Teachers readily engaged in “eating”, testing out various tools to discover which shape tool was best for a specific type of food. This hands-on science activity correlates well with the idea of form and function, an important concept in the Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Standards. Teachers enjoyed discussing the myriad of ways such an activity can be used and expanded upon throughout the various grades, according to the ages and development of children. A collection of books with accompanying suggested activities, rounded out the two-hour workshop.

Insects in a log simulation

Teachers test various tools to pick out insects from a log.

The Arboretum for Educators Monthly Explorations are a professional development opportunity for Boston’s elementary and middle school teachers to introduce the Arboretum landscape as an outdoor classroom. The next event, a Geology Walk, will take place on Saturday, December 5.

Participate and learn more about our next Monthly Exploration.

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