One of our SK students had bought in a model of a bird, and wondered how she could identify it. This question was posed to the children, in part as an assessment of the learning they had achieved during their recent bird investigation.
Spontaneously they began to compare the model to Blue Jays, making the connection with its colour. They also compared the model to the bird of the month they had recently been introduced to, the Wax Wing. Sophia was the first to reflect that to identify a bird it is necessary to look at “The shape of its tummy, eyes, beak, wings and tail.” From its tail, she hypothesized that the model was “A cousin of the Blue Jay because he looks nearly the same.”
An enlightening conversation ensued as the students built on each other’s observations and challenged each other’s theories.
Through bringing the problem of how to identify a bird to all the children, they were able to:
Make visible their own understandings, practice disagreeing with others viewpoints in safe surroundings, listen to others and learn from each others’ ideas. This discussion led them to wonder why birds had different shaped beaks, claws, and tails, and why they were different colours and sizes.
Watch for Part II of this study in Inquiring Minds.