Sunday, 28 September 2014

How do birds make nests?

Since we are investigating how bats and birds are different, the students thought it would be best if we had two sets of wonder charts at the Discovery Area. One for bat wonders, and one for bird wonders.

As so often happens with inquiry in an emergent curriculum environment, the presence of one spark can ignite the interest of many! 

One afternoon, O. M. brought me a stick he found outside at lunch and told me he wanted to use it to create a bird nest. I asked him how he knew birds used sticks to make nests? He responded by telling me he saw sticks in the nests we had at the Discovery Area, and in some of the classroom books abut birds.

Seeing that some students were already creating nests using plasticine, and W. E. and E. E. posted the wonder question, "How do birds make their nests?", I asked the class what they thought about O. M.'s idea of collecting materials to try and make nests like birds? The students loved the idea and so began our investigation. 

I brought in some wonderful books about nests and placed them at the Discovery Area. 

It wasn't long before pages were filled with post-it-notes that students felt were important in helping us learn about the types of materials birds used to create their nests. 

We ventured outside! 

"We need string, sticks, feathers, leaves, all that stuff for the birds nest (looking at the book)!" J. S.

"We need to find moss." W. E.

"I found bark!" O. M.

"I found string for the birds to make a nest!" L. S.

"I found something for the birds, it is like string!" A. F.

"I think I found some seeds. They were on top of the leaves and I think birds can find them to build with." O. S.

"I found string! Birds use string to make nests." M. O.

Back in the classroom, we decided to sort the material.

"I found lots of little tiny sticks and rocks. I think birds use them to make their nests." J. K.

"I gathered lots of sticks and put them in the bucket." R. S.

"I got some string to make a nest." L. S.

"I found rocks, leaves, and bark so the nest is warm." O. M.

"I saw some sticks in the book, then I went and grabbed them." J. S.

"I found mud, and I found leaves and bark so the nest stays in the tree and doesn't fall." A. F.

"I found one tin foil and I found lots of sticks. I'll try to make a nest." M. S.

"I picked a stick cause I want to make a nest." B. P.

The next day, I placed the provocation out for students to explore and investigate nest making with the materials they collected. 

To further support their learning, I showed them parts of a video I found of a Robin building her nest. 


It was interesting to listen to conversations and observe students as they created their nests.

They experimented with the best way to make their nest like a bowl. Some made a flat round shape and lifted the sides, others rolled and made a sphere, then used their thumbs to make the center hollow. When they added different materials, they used some of the books to help them figure out which nest they wanted to create.

"My nest is the shape of a circle." H. S.

"The birds spin around in the nest and makes the shape of a circle!" W. E.

"The nest is made of feathers." C. C.

"My nest is shaped like an egg, an oval." O. S.


  1. Great learning! While we have been away on a holiday we have had about 20 bird nests build under our eaves. We think they are swallows nests made from mud.

  2. Thank you so much for these amazing posts! The conversation around bats & birds has certainly continued in our house and it's wonderful to see how it comes to life in the classroom (and outside!) I find myself looking forward to Sunday's so I can read your most recent post and have our son take us through and describe the pictures. Thank you for all of your work!

  3. Thanks Mrs. Ralph for posting the video . H.S liked to watch it again and her sister I. S paid attention the whole time.