Bird is the Word

What was your driving question?

How can we provide a habitat for the native Alabama birds that may be displaced by human impact?

Grades Involved


What PBE principles were highlighted in this project?

Project Description

Students partnered with the University of West Alabama to revamp the Bluebird Trail, one of the University’s nature trails. The Life Science students were responsible for researching bluebird habitat, determining the best birdhouses for bluebirds, and the effects of human activities on nature. The math class students’ responsibilities were to use the design thinking process to design and build a prototype for the birdhouses. All students participated in building the birdhouses and we are now in the process of installing them on the nature trail. This project enhanced the learning of class standards on habitats and angles.

How did this project connect to your local or regional community?

Students were able to study the diets, nesting preferences, and mating habits of local bird species. These students were then able to build new birdhouses for the local nature trail in order to provide a safe nesting area to assist in attracting specific birds to the area.

How did this positively impact the community? How was it shared?

We are planning to monitor bird activity in these birdhouses over the next few years and hope to see an increase in use over time. This will provide us with the information we need in order to know if this project was successful. This project was shared with the community through various social media platforms and at one community outreach meeting on the University campus.

Reflection: What was the biggest challenge? What was the most rewarding aspect of this project?

The biggest challenge with this birdhouse was the construction aspect. We have a rather large class, and lining up volunteers to assist each group with the construction of their birdhouses was complex. The most rewarding aspect is the pride that these students have gained as they are now able to show others how they built something that was placed on the nature trail of the local university campus.

Any advice for a teacher or student that is implementing a PBE project for the first time?

If you are working through your first PBE project, my best advice is to follow the design thinking process- every step of the way- and to make sure you are constantly assessing your progress and prototypes as you go. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the community for help.