English Class second graders have been learning that all birds have feathers, some birds have talons, some birds have webbed feet and that all birds have beaks. That lead pupils to wonder why birds have so many, many different kinds of beaks. Their teacher set up a challenge for the pupils to determine the reasons themselves. Seven samples of “bird food” (nectar [juice] , sunflower seeds, worms [pasta coloured with red food colouring], meat [marshmallows], insect larvae in wood [long-grained rice imbedded in a piece of sytrofoam] aquatic plants [small pieces of cut lettuce and roots floating in water] and small fish [plastic fishing bait in water] were set out on a table along with seven different implements. The challenge was to match one tool to one type of food and to be in a consensus about the solution.
The challenge posed lots of loud discussion and many experiments before everyone agreed on the solution.
But in the end, everyone was happy with the agreed upon solution. Together we investigated species of birds that have the types of beaks resembling the tools we used. We all marveled at the amazing adaptations of birds in nature!