In the spring of 2017 the students on the 7 Green Team at Oak Middle School in Shrewsbury, MA partnered with the Mass Audubon Society at Broad Meadow Brook to create field guide materials for their annual fundraising event called the “Bird-a-Thon". The event encourages people to get out in their communities and identify and count local birds.
Each student was responsible for creating informational materials about a bird that could be spotted during the event. Students became experts on ecological relationships and the role that their bird plays in the ecosystem. Additionally, students engaged in the design thinking process to analyze existing field guides, assess the needs of the participants of the Bird-a-Thon, brainstorm, prototype, and ultimately create their own materials for the event. This project allowed students to become experts on ecology concepts, research skills, and a particular bird.
This project was facilitated through a joint-effort between the science, English Language Arts, and special education teachers. This allowed students to dig deeper into both subjects while meeting the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and rigorous content standards designed by the teachers. In addition to meeting content requirements, students became designers, critical thinkers and created a product that had a purpose beyond the school walls and was meant for public use.
During this project, students very effectively used a variety of apps and tools including Google Slides to create book pages and pamphlets, Noodle Tools to organize research, Notability to create images, and Adobe Spark to create websites. The final products that students created include a tri-fold brochure, a Field Guide to Springtime Birds of Central Massachusetts, and websites that detail the role that their bird plays in the ecosystem. Please explore the whole website and subsites here.
How This Project Can Be Useful:
- Beautiful example of a high-quality website created by students using multiple apps and tools
- Excellent example of collaboration with a local entity to create a product with authentic us
- Serves as a model that could be replicated with different subject matter at different grade levels