Bringing birds into the classroom

Last week, as a member of Maine Audubon’s education team, I was able to do one of my favorite things: partner with students and teachers in the classroom.  

Two seventh-grade science teachers at Lyman Moore Middle School in Portland, Hazel Cashman and Margaret Paisley, were doing a unit on owls. We met to discuss how Maine Audubon could work with the students and developed a plan for five learning stations. I then spent two days cycling through a total of 190 students, with help from Judy Stanhope, a volunteer and retired teacher.

Students at Moore Middle School in Portland studying birds, Nov 2022All of these stations had hands-on artifacts for the students to examine and questions to guide them through their observations and discoveries. The students examined owl feet (sharp!), skulls (cool!), and wings (so light!) and compared them to other birds. They created food webs for the different owls for later discussions on energy flow through the food web. Wing spans were measured and the students drew conclusions based on the collected data. We brought owl mounts into the classroom along with other bird species for comparisons. 

According to the teachers, “The students were intrigued, and are still talking about it. We are looking forward to more involvement with Maine Audubon in the future!” 

If you or a teacher you know is interested in a program for your school or group, email 

Linda Woodard works with students at Moore Middle School in Portland on owl/bird unit, Nov 2022