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Young Engineers Build Bird Nests in Second Grade (Watch Video)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Where Do I Live?

The theme in second grade is “Where Do I Live?” Second graders begin the year investigating the natural environment, learning, for example, how local plants and animals attain their basic needs. Focusing on the temperate forest, students learn about the New England climate and how human and animal life adapts to survive in this environment. They move on to explore their own neighborhoods and houses and consider how buildings provide shelter.

As second graders continue their study of their local environment and launch into their unit on houses, they examined and built bird nests during theme (science and social studies) class this week. Young engineers were challenged with the task of working in small groups to design, plan, and construct nests from organic materials gathered around campus. To begin, students examined various native bird nests and generated a list of what materials they thought birds might use to build a nest. The class also brainstormed and came up with the following criteria for the nest: 

  • The nest must hold together on it’s own.
  • It must be large enough and strong enough to hold an egg.
  • It must sit on a branch for 30 seconds without falling while holding the egg.

Small groups were formed, and students worked together to distribute jobs within their group. Then, each child designed and drew a detailed illustration of a nest, clearly labeling each material on their plan. Groups discussed and chose one nest design to construct with their group. After all of the planning, problem solving, and collaboration, students built their nests. This week, they will present their nests to the class and test their designs by placing them in one of the trees on campus.