Bringing the Field to the Classroom - Birds

Become a Citizen Science - Learn about Birds!
seminar player window The Bringing the Field to the Classroom - Birds web seminar, produced in collaboration with the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, was held on Tuesday, September 26, 2006, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. The presenters were Colleen McLinn and Jennifer Schaus, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and from NSDL, Robert Payo, Education and Outreach Specialist. The presentation focused on the topic of birds - what scientists are learning about them through observation and about how students can get involved in the study of birds as citizen scientists. Resources available at the NSDL web site were discussed.

The session started with a general overview of the NSTA Web Seminar tools and how they can be used to facilitate interaction between the participants and the presenters. Fifty three (53) participants were present in addition to the presenters and the NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. One participant attended the program from Canada.

Robert Payo started the presentation talking about the NSDL, the resources available at the library, and the scientific method. He described the scientific method as dynamic, as oppose to the traditional way of thinking as a series of ordered steps. He proceeded to introduce the presenters, Ms. McLinn and Ms. Schaus and their topic: birds. McLinn and Schaus began their presentation talking about the way scientists approach questions - conducting a study, analyzing existing data and researching the literature. The presenters shared their ideas about why choosing to study birds as oppose to something else - for example, birds are everywhere, most students are interested in them, they offer a context for learning about the scientific process, and they provide environmental awareness. When bird watching, students should look for a number of birds' characteristics, the presenters said, like their shape, posture, size, colors, location, sound, etc.

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The presenters encouraged the teachers to get their students involved as citizen scientists in the field of birds. Schaus and McLinn talked about one example - the House Finch Disease Survey - where citizen scientists have contributed valuable observations. Mr. Payo concluded the presentation talking about a number of electronic resources available to educators, like eBird, the Macaulay Library, Journey North, and the Space for Species. All participants received a copy of NSTA's SciGuide on Organisms, grades 5-8.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:

  • "I am interested in birds, but I didn't know how to bring them into the classroom. This really helped me by showing available resources."
  • "It provided me with several new ideas that I can use with my students to introduce inquiry projects."
  • "I really learned some ideas on how to incorporate the study of birds to teach the scientific method and interest students in science."
  • "I am interested in the bird world, and this gave me lots of resources. I love that you encourage new bird watchers to just get out there, and the great ideas for interesting classroom anticipatory sets and lessons, and where to get the info."

Thanks to the participants and the presenters for the learning opportunity, the interactions, and a job well done!

Web Seminar: Birds - Resources


See a recorded version of the Web Seminar.

PowerPoint Presentation

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    PowerPoint Presentation (1.13 MB)


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