Project: Birds of our region Grade 4/5
Idea of the project: There has been close contact between the principal of the
ERS Weiskirchen and Mr. Paul Davis from California since 1997. Paul Davis is a retired
teacher and has ancestors from the Saarland in Germany. He deals intensivly with family
research and bird watching. During his stay in Germany in May 1998 he will meat the
invitation of the ERS Weiskirchen and hike with the students through the forest of
Weiskirchen. This gave rise to the spontaneous idea to include his visit into
cross-curricular activities focussing on the subject of biology.
Planning the project: In the subject of biology local birds are to be listed up
in the form of short descriptions. The toppic should be encluded into the lessons of other
subjects too. Contact to a school in Germany will be established. Information will be
exchanged. The course of the project will be documented on the homepage. Having returned
to California Paul Davis will visit the partner class.
Plan of the unit for biology:
- Introductory lesson in the classroom: The description of the skylark is dealt with.
- Internet lesson: The students are to get information about other birds from the internet
to fill in the descriptions.
- The directions for the students are given on the worksheet that is available on the
homepage of the school and contains clickable internet adresses. The students go on
working on the description at home and work out a form which make them suitable for an
- The descriptions will be talked about and made available to all pupils (notice board).
The sounds of the birds can be found and listened to on the web. You can although use
CD-Roms or audio CDs with bird sounds. A multi media stand with beamer will be used in
this lesson for the projection of the monitor picture on a screen. The students have the
opportunity to record the sound on cassettes.
Then the birds will be watched in the forest with the sounds on cassettes and the
descriptions at hand then too. (We will be accompanied by Paul Davis as an expert.)
Preconditions for the internet lesson:
- Computer with access to World Wide Web
- Web site with the information and worksheet
- With the starting of the browser the homepage with web lesson is automatically loaded.
- Multi media stand with beamer
Preconditions with the students:
- All students are experienced in dealing with an internet browser.
Importance of the internet for the project:
The internet serves
- Medium of information: Text about selected birds, bird sounds
- Medium of communication: e-mail contact to a partner class
- Medium of documentation: The different steps will be available on the homepage
- German: Reading of a text about the topic, writing an essay
- Music: Singing bird songs
- Arts: Drawings with motives of birds
- Mathematics: Temperature conversions from Fahrenheit to Celsius
- German: Translation of the description (simplified)
- Religion: Life with animals
- Geography: Effects of changes in agriculture on the environement
- Handicrafts: Construction map for nesting help
Superior learning aims
- Reading of the texts and answering the questions is a learning aim that concerns many
- Social learning (helping and getting help) and practicing teamwork are performed.
G. Peifer, Erweiterte Realschule Weiskirchen, 10. Mai 1998
Thanks to Wolfgang Steimer for the translation.