Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Bird Feeder Capacity Activity

It's almost the first day of spring so I thought I'd share an idea for teaching capacity with a nonstandard unit.  I'll be sharing another idea tomorrow along with a freebie!

I've had this little bird-feeder for years.  I love it!  It's made of plastic (including the side panels) so I never have to worry about breaking it.  It's very sturdy and has withstood many winters!  The roof, base, and side panels can be taken apart for easy cleaning.  There's a hole in the center of the base and the roof.  A rope is threaded through the holes.  (I've replaced the rope many times.)  Best of all, the squirrels have a hard time accessing the food!  No cayenne pepper required.  Ha!  Ha!
You will want to make sure that none of your students have an allergy to the ingredients in the bird food.

Setting up a bird feeding station is easy and the children enjoy it.  It's a good idea to wait until the late spring when warmer weather returns.  This might be a good activity for "Earth Day".  If you set up a feeder in the winter, you should plan to replenish the bird food on a regular basis.  Birds can find other sources of food during the warmer months.

You will need a feeder (similar to the one that I am using), food, a small cup, a bowl, and an outdoor space.  You will also need a tree or something else to hang the feeder.
1.  Take your your class outside along with the materials.
2.  Gather the children in a circle and sit down in a grassy area.
3.  Show them the empty feeder and discuss the term "empty".
4.  Pour the bird food into the bowl.
5.  Use the cup as your unit of measurement.  Tell the children that they will help you count the number of cups of bird food required to fill the feeder to the top.
6.  Scoop the bird food into the cup.  Level it at the top so that the food is dispersed evenly at the top of the cup.  Discuss this with the children.  Tell the children that the cup is "full".  Discuss the term "full".  Ask the children to predict whether or not one cup of bird food will fill the feeder.
7.  Pour the cup of bird food into the feeder.  Count it as "1 cup".  Ask the children whether or not one cup filled the feeder.
8.  If possible, allow each child to add one cup of bird food to the feeder.  A small bit of food might slip out of the side panels.  It's not a significant amount and it won't impact the cup count.
9.  Repeat.  Count the number of cups of bird food added to the feeder as it's poured in.  When the feeder is half full, discuss the phrase, "half full".
 10.  Hang the feeder when it is full of bird food.

Check the feeder with your children at least once a week. Ask the children to describe the amount of food remaining inside the feeder.  Use words like "full", "half full", and "empty". 
I removed the rope which goes through the two holes in the feeder for the photos for this blog post.  Normally, I would have the rope through the feeder BEFORE placing the food inside!

That's all for now!

Lessons by Molly © 2016  All rights reserved.

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