Nature Club – Birds of a Feather

Take a sprinkling of fairy dust,
An angel’s single feather,
A dash of love and care,
Then mix them both together.
Add a sentiment or two,
A thoughtful wish or line,
A touch of stardust,
A sunshine ray,
It’s a recipe…
truly fine.

 This week in Nature Club the children and I learned more about feathers.  We passed around samples of all different types of bird feathers and talked about their similarities and differences.  I then asked the children to sketch a feather in their nature notebooks, being mindful of each part they saw on their sample, and after learning about each part of the feather, the children labeled their feather correctly with the new terms they learned.
 As a special surprise I gave each child his and her own peacock feather to take home.  This was a huge hit and did not go unnoticed 🙂 
 We made our own feather masks and talked about what type of bird we wanted to be.  We talked about whether or not we thought penguins had feathers (they do) and why it is important for feathers to be light.  
 We learned that feathers grow by absorbing blood through the base called the ‘inferior umbilicus’.  It was pretty cool when one child mentioned that the word umbilicus sounded like umbilical cord and we talked about why that might be.  Amazing how smart our children can be, isn’t it?  After the feather is fully grown it stops taking the nutrients from the blood and is called a “dead” feather.  When feathers get worn out, the bird’s body goes through a process called molting which replaces old feathers with new ones.    
These children range in age from 5 years old to 12 years old and they were all united with the same level of interest and enthusiasm.  It gave me the chills to witness the huge amount of learning that took place in only one 2 hour meeting.  I learned things I had never known and we all retained the information without the need for multiple choice tests or memorizing index cards.  We remember it because we were excited about it… we touched it, we drew it, we laughed about it, we played games around it and it was FUN.   Learning can really be fun and easy.  
I feel so honored to be able to do this work.  I hope I am able to get a full class for my spring session to continue our fun together as the weather warms up.  Next week we will be planting our very own tree to take home and learning about life cycles.  

I can’t wait.  🙂 

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