Emma Hallowell’s Guilford Central School Pre-K class began noticing and wondering about winter birds. The students decided to make a scarecrow, and prop it up on a tree sitting down with bird feed in the scarecrow’s lap. Once the birds were comfortable feeding from the scarecrow, children began sitting where the scarecrow was. After a month of the children being so still and patient, the birds were feeding from their laps, hats, and mittens!

This spun into a whole other direction of inquiry when students noticed scat on the scarecrow’s lap. They wondered – who has been here? They did lots of hypothesizing and wrote a letter to naturalist Mary Holland, along with sending a sample of scat. Turns out it was eastern cottontail scat that had been deformed by a sleet storm! Emma says, “Children are full of questions …. not necessarily interested in an answer. Approach time outside with children with curiosity. We’re so quick to give a name. Instead, grown-ups can pose interesting questions.”

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