Making science a concrete project is the gamble that Roxanne Piché, a secondary 1 teacher at Collège Beaubois in Pierrefonds, in the suburbs of Montreal, has been taking up for a few weeks with her students. How? 'Or' What? By building the latest nesting boxes, equipped with cameras!
The educational advisor of Collège Beaubois, Jacky Lepeintre, is a ornithologist amateur. He also believes that technologies "cannot stay at the doors of schools". But that these require "judgment, strategy, communication with families, and especially support". Roxanne Piché was therefore able to benefit from his support.
Initially, the two classes of the young teacher were offered research on bird species that prefer nesting boxes rather than nests in trees. As the College is surrounded by a wooded area, the students also took the opportunity to observe the ambient species, therefore those which were most likely to move into pretty little bungalows!
Go in stages
Once the research had been carried out (partly at home, due to a pandemic), it was necessary to process and validate the information as any good scientist would. Besides, what better way than to seek advice from scientists! Virtual meetings took place using electronic tablets. Ms. Piché's students received answers, in particular on baggage, the sex of birds, spawning as well as the various habits of avian fauna.
One of the highlights of the research was undoubtedly the arrival of a falconer at the school! Contact with its specialists allowed the students to have many more answers to their questions for the rest of the project.
The nesting boxes project allows each student to make a prototype out of cardboard, depending on the bird species chosen.
The notion of trial and error is essential at this stage. "This is how learning is done", according to Roxanne Piché and Jacky Lepeintre. Some found that their nest box was either too small due to the size of the birds to be accommodated, or too dark. “Yes, because among all the prototypes produced, five will subsequently be built in wood and will each receive a camera to observe the laying and hatching of the eggs! We will be in a real reality show! ".
A website will soon be set up to disseminate images of the interior of the nesting boxes. A video on the project will also be broadcast on the BeaubOiseaux YouTube channel. Finally, a survey will follow to see to what extent the interest of this project will have marked the students from an academic point of view, but also their family environment. It is not impossible that some people want to reproduce for their garden the appropriate nesting box for the birds in their neighborhood.
The nest boxes project is entirely in line with Mr. Lepeintre's thinking: aiming for the acquisition of digital skills specific to the 21st century, namely "communication, collaborative work, mastery of ICT, critical thinking and creativity ”.