George Lucas Educational Foundation

First Grade Project on Birds

First Grade Project on Birds

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I am a First Grade teacher in Portland Oregon. I do a bird unit in the fall and am looking for ideas to turn this content into a lesson using project based learning. I love the idea of allowing the students to question and discover on their own as much as possible. I am looking for any ideas, thanks!

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Hubert Yee's picture

Hi Jenn,

I tutor a person on computer usage and she loves The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Suzie gave you a great recommendation. If you are interested I can share a contact there for you. Email me if you would like. Good luck! Do share your findings. Would love to hear how your project goes.

Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher

Some of the best hands on science I've seen comes from Ranger Rick! A publication called Ranger Rick's NatureScope publishes great curriculum guides built around activities which require active participation. Birds! Birds! Birds! has some great exploratory lessons.

Acorn Naturalists has a detailed website with hundreds of great resources (including owl pellets).

The Crinkleroot series (by Jim Arnosky) is very appealing to younger children and has some useful information.

BTW, do you know abou the Tualatin Hills Nature Park?

Hope this helps!


Allen Berg's picture
Allen Berg
curriculum and projects learning centers

Dear Jenn,

This is 'almost perfect' for your project about birds...
It is a fantastic "Easy Dollar Bill Origami" Dover book that costs only $5 at bookstores (or anytime with S&H adding up to <$10) by John Montroll.

There are 32 easy paper-folding step-by-step (fold-by-fold) illustration guides to creating simple paper animals and a few other objects like a boat, a house, a heart, a man and woman, etc. They can all be colored with crayons etc. to personalize the students work.

The 'almost perfect' qualifier is because dollar bills are small for folding origami and they cost money! :-) So the solution is for you to use about 180% enlargement of the dollar bill outline on blank white standard photocopy or printer paper 8 1/2" x 11" (available by the ream (500 sheets)that you would pre-draw the outline for and possibly pre-cut the paper for your students...

OR: Use 9" x 12" colored construction paper which already adds "color" to the projects...

So that they would start with paper in the exact same proportion of a dollar bill but almost twice the size...

The students' creations can nicely decorate your classroom and if hung by thread, string, or yarn they can "fly and twirl" in the air by a window's breeze or on their own...

AND I just realized that I already posted the Origami Resource Center online website here at Edutopia PBL: "School Projects in Paper Arts: Grades 1-3"
that would be perfect for your class all-year-round...

Happy Folding...
Allen Berg

Jenn Alldrin Langhus's picture
Jenn Alldrin Langhus
First Grade Teacher from Portland, Oregon.

Thanks so much for all the great ideas! I would love to try the bird's nest and will look into all the wonderful resources mentioned including Tualitin Hills Nature Park, thanks Javier and Mary Kate. Origami sounds interesting too. Thanks Allen.

Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher

My students still love origami, and often share ideas for folds they find online. One way that we make it accessible for the younger kids (even K's) is by creating an example of each stage of the process, then affixing the examples to a board in order. They should be glued in such a way that the student can fold and unfold the crease they are working on at each stage.


Becky's picture
Gifted Education Specialist

How about having them participte in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count? They could then create graphs of their counts of the various species and talk about how they know if the count is accurate. The next GBYBC is in February.

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