Birds are building nests all around our school and that inspired us to do a unit on bird habitats this week. The science access point match common living things with their habitats was a learning goal throughout all our groups. Our sensory group explored a variety of boxes—–including a green jello swamp habitat! Our fine motor group made some bird puppets and a bird feeder, and the students in our language group went bird watching. Read along and see all the fun we had.
Each of the habitats this week included a number that indicated how many birds were hidden in that particular habitat. We used cookie cutters, fridge magnets, and textured numbers—-what ever we had 🙂 It added a nice cool math element to each box.
We started with a fabulous rainforest umbrella habitat. We have done these before and as usual, we were really thrilled with the way it turned out. Among the leaves, vines, and butterflies there was a number 4 to let our students now how many birds to find. Our very cute and cuddly giant blue parrot (thanks Ms. Kim) was pretty easy to find but our other little parrots were hidden in the leaves. We also recorded some rainforest sounds from Sound Bible and that really added to the tropical feel.
Recognize and respond to common sounds is a science access point addressed in this activity. Distinguish between a plant and an animal is another science access point addressed.
From the rainforest to the desert for our next habitat! There were 4 roadrunners to find in this box. 3 of them were small laminated pictures—-fairly easy to find but we were a little tricky with the 4th one 🙂 It was a large roadrunner picture taped to the bottom of the box! There were also a few other animals such as a snake and lizard that you might find in the desert.
The science access point recognize objects related to science by name, such as animal is addressed.
Penguins are found in the antarctic habitat. We used dry tapioca for our “snow” in this box. While not cold like real snow it did have a pretty cool effect—-all the adults wanted to know what we used! We included a little measuring spoon to let the students scoop up the snow and sprinkle it on top of the 5 penguins.
The science access point, match animals that are the same is addressed here.
Two of the penguins were IDENTICAL so the math access point recognize 2 objects that are identical to each other is also addressed.
In our savanna habitat we included some raffia “grass” for the 2 ostriches to nestle into. There was also a soft feather boa which was a huge hit—–a favorite for some of our students who loved waving and shaking it around!
Associate quantities 1 and 2 with number names is a math access point addressed.
Of course, the science access point track objects in motion can also be addressed 🙂
Silk leaves made a great base for our woodland habitat box. We added a pine cone, some woodland animals, and a little nest for 1 cute blue bird. The bright blue color of the bird really popped, drawing our students eyes immediately! It was a great box with lots of different textures—–hard, soft, rough, smooth!
Recognize and respond to different types of sensory stimuli as well as recognize a model of a real object are science access points addressed.
We were pretty happy with the way our bright green lime jello swamp habitat turned out! The plastic grass blades (scavenged from some discarded fake flowers) really gave it that wetland/swamp look. Again we put in a variety of animals that might be found in this habitat AND bird shaped cookie cutter! The jello was cold and sticky—–our students had a blast squishing it between their fingers! Really, really, great fun 🙂
Use senses to recognize objects is a science access point definitely addressed with this box!
We also included a spoon so our students could give the ducks a little shower.
There was 1 big duck and 2 little ducks.
The science access point recognize the larger of 2 objects can be addressed here.
We finished with the matching lotion. It smelled really nice and we got lots of smiles as our students tested its aroma. A perfect scent to help us remember all the different bird habitats we learned about today!
As usual, the science access points recognize one or more external body parts and recognize and respond to one type of sensory stimuli are addressed with this activity.
On Tuesday we made a fun paper bag puppet! These cool blue lunch bags we got at Target were perfect for the project. We started asking our students to point out the color blue using communication symbols.
Identify an object by one observable property is the science access point addressed here.
Then we pointed out the lunch bags were rectangular in shape and counted the sides—-working on the math access point identify the sides of a rectangle.
Identify objects by one observable property, such as color, is a science access point.
The beak was glued down and then we added we added 2 round googlie eyes and colorful, fluffy feathers. Picking up all these little pieces and gluing them down was great for promoting eye hand coordination.
These puppets turned out so super cute!
On Thursday we made some bird feeders to put around the school. All those little birds building their nests around the school are going to have some pretty hungry mouths to feed soon 🙂 Recognize that living things have basic needs, including water and food is a science access point.
The students chose which color yarn they wanted to tie to their pinecone for hanging. They indicated their color preference using communication symbols—–addressing the language access point effectively communicate wants using referent objects, gestures/signs, pictures, symbols, or words.
Then the yarn was cut using our adaptive scissors. Recognize that pushing and pulling an object makes it move is the science access point addressed with this activity.
After the peanut butter was applied, it was time to add the birdseed. The birdseed could be added by either rolling the pine cone around or by sprinkling the birdseed on top. Ok, this was a pretty messy process and yes the tray was knocked over BUT then again, making a mess has not exactly slowed us down before 🙂
Apply a push or pull to move an object is the science access point addressed as fine motor skills are practiced.
After reading about the different birds and their habitats, it was time to go bird watching—–but of course, we needed some binoculars! We taped 2 toilet paper rolls together to make our binoculars and the students chose dimensional stickers to decorate them. Students made choices by pointing, tapping, using eye gaze, or verbalizing.
Peeling the paper off of those stickers really works those fine motor skills!
Communicating a preference for a familiar object is a language access point.
Colorful laminated birds (made by local artist Peggy Adair) were hung them up in the backyard area of Ms. Robin’s classroom. It was a breezy day which made the birds “fly” around and they really looked quite fabulous out there. To start, we had one of our students choose which color bird to look for using eye gaze.
The language access point effectively communicate information using referent objects, gestures/signs, pictures, symbols, or words———–nailed it 🙂
Our “bird watchers” went outside and had to find the yellow bird! Some clues had to be provided to help tell WHERE the bird might be. We used prepositions such as IN, ON, AROUND, and UNDER to help our students in their search.
In addition to language concepts, the science access point recognize common objects in the environment is also addressed.
It was such a beautiful day and both the students and staff enjoyed their afternoon of bird watching, Audubon Society, here we come!