From 5 January – 13 February 2015, schools across the UK will be making bird feeders and binoculars, turning classrooms into bird hides and getting excited children into position with their noses pressed against the window. Why? To take part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch.
Big Schools’ Birdwatch is a simple activity that gets children and their teachers closer to the birds visiting their school grounds.
It is a simple survey that takes just one hour and can be carried out in school or by visiting a local outdoor space. It works across a wide age and ability range. There’s plenty of flexibility for schools to run it as simply as they would like, or as the centrepiece of cross-curricular studies, project work or as part of work to improve their school grounds.
Big Schools’ Birdwatch aims to encourage children, and their teachers, to identify and take an interest in the birds visiting their school grounds. It is also suitable for youth groups, eg brownies and cubs.
Nearly 2500 classes, involving 75,000 children and teachers took part in the wildlife survey last year.
Since its launch in 2002, more than 70 different species have been recorded in school grounds, ranging from starlings and house sparrows, to kestrels and even pheasants.
Taking part in the activity could not be easier. Everything a teacher would need to plan a fantastic birdwatch and develop their children’s knowledge and interest in the birds they see every day is available to download from our website, including guidance notes, recipes, make and dos and counting charts.
We also have specially designed resources for different age groups: Under 5s, 5-7s, 7-11s and 11-14 years old.
By participating in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch and preparing your grounds for some feathered visitors you’ll be helping to give nature a home at your school.
The birdwatch is a simple survey that takes just one hour and can be carried out in school or by visiting a local outdoor space. All schools need to do to take part is watch and count the birds in their school grounds for one hour, then send the RSPB one set of results detailing what they saw. It doesn’t matter how many or how few birds – all sightings are useful! They don’t need to be an expert birdwatcher – the main thing is to have fun watching!
Sending in your survey results is a vital part of the activity. Once the survey results are in, we collect them all together and do some adding up. This helps us to see how birds are doing across the UK, but it also means that we can feed back the results to schools that took part.
The RSPB website has a specially designed online results form. It can be used as a fun data-handling class activity, via an interactive whiteboard. Teachers and children can build their choice of graphs and charts using their results data.
Visit: www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch for everything you need!
Big Schools’ Birdwatch is part of the world’s biggest birdwatching event, the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. It takes place over the weekend of 24/25 January 2015. Further information can be found on the RSPB website rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
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