The students learned that birds were colliding with windows in record numbers. Up to 10,000 migratory birds per year, in Toronto, are either injured or die due to collisions with windows. The students embarked on a campaign to educate their fellow students in an effort to bring awareness to this serious problem. Conduction research on the internet they came across an organization called FLAP. This organization is committed to helping birds that have collided with windows and they are committed to preventing bird collisions. The students first emailed FLAP asking if they would be willing to come to our school and present the issues and some solutions to our students. When a response was received the following day, we conducted a telephone conference and arranged for a date that FLAP could visit our school. Paloma Plant came to our school a few weeks later and brought many bird samples with her and gave an amazing powerpoint presentation. The students were mesmerized by the beauty of the birds. Their commitment and desire to help was strengthened and so they continued their journey to find out how they could help. One of the students found a wonderful youtube video showing a simple and cost effective way of altering the windows to prevent collisions. The idea is to use a highlighter and make a grid pattern on the window, from the outside, so as to indicate to birds that the reflections they see on the window are not real. Our next step is to pitch the idea to our Principal to see if she will allow us to use highlighters on our school windows.
To further develop interest the students are learning how to draw birds. They are learning about feathers vs. fur, shading, patterns in feathers, wing span, different types of birds, and general facts about birds. Each student has their own sketch book where they draw pictures of birds with as much detail as possible. Students are including facts about the birds they draw. In addition, students have taken outdoor walks in our school yard to observe birds flying, flapping their wings, gliding, and then flapping again. Through their observations and their readings students are extending their 'bird' vocabulary. Through adding details in their drawings they are learning to add details to their writing.
Students will also begin to build wooden bird houses. Again this will continue to sustain their interest in the topic and give them an opportunity to put some of their math skills to work. A step-by-step video will be made and possibly posted to youtube inviting others to take an interest in the birds found in their city.