Spring fever?

I’m looking out at a snowy scene today, but I’m thinking ahead to spring (although I hope I can get a few snowshoe walks in before then). What started my thoughts was Peggy’s blog on the Great Backyard Bird Count later in February. This is a great classroom activity and the dates include a weekend so that the observations can continue at home, in a park, or anywhere. You don’t need to set up birdfeeders for this project.  According to the GBBC newsletter,  dots will be displayed on the map as counts are submitted. Student can find your school’s location on the map and watch it light up.

I had a recent update on the Journey North Project:

A network of students and other citizen scientists at 40,000 sites are tracking spring with Journey North, a non-profit science education and outreach project. Members of the public are welcome to participate in this spring’s 19th annual global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. Contribute your backyard observations to a long-term database and monitor signs of the seasons. Help track migration patterns of monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, robin, and other backyard birds; the blooming of plants; changing sunlight, temperatures, and other signs of spring. Thanks to Annenberg Learner, participation in Journey North is free.

Spring is a good time to try new projects–to channel student enthusiasm in being outdoors and as a way to help students connect concepts they’ve studied to the “real world.”

NASA’s Students’ Cloud Observations On-Line (S’COOL)  project can be used as an ongoing classroom research project. The project uses online resources and engages students in real-time data collection and analysis that is shared with NASA. In Project BudBurst,  Hummingbird.net, and MonarchWatch participants chart their observations and share with a community of researchers.

Spring is also a good time to clear out the cobwebs and try something different. A recent Edutopia blog (and if you don’t subscribe or follow them on Facebook/Twitter, you should consider it!) has 10 Websites for Science Teachers  Many of these have components that have been included in SciLinks, but an overview of the complete resources are worth a look. If you don’t have time, give them to a few students to preview!

Photo: MLB

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2 Comments

  1. Peggy Ashbrook
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will go back to the warmer side of usual for at least one of the GBBC days so my students can see more than a few sparrows huddling in the bushes. The wrens and cardinals that create the dawn chorus outside my window don’t live near the school. Maybe we should put up a feeder…

  2. MaryB
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    If you put up a new feeder, give the birdies a few days to find it. Or you could start throwing some sunflower seeds on the ground — cardinals are ground feeders! You might also attract doves, juncos, and white-throated sparrows on the ground, too. (Not to mention the “S” word –squirrels!

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