Third graders at Amana Academy used knowledge they acquired in their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects to design a real-world solution to a local environmental problem. At issue is a declining population of a bird species found in Wills Park, a 95-acre park located directly behind the school.
Amana Academy partnered with the Atlanta Audubon Society to help students learn about declining populations of the Brown-headed Nuthatch, a species of bird found almost exclusively in the southeastern United States. They researched the Nuthatch in technology classes and learned about environmental factors affecting the birds’ natural habitat in science. They also used the engineering design process and developed plans for birdhouses that could be installed in and around Alpharetta. Students then wrote persuasive letters to the city of Alpharetta advocating for the installation of the birdhouses they designed in parks throughout the city. They even staged a fundraising campaign to collect enough money to purchase supplies for 35 Nuthatch houses. Ten of those houses will be installed in Wills Park.
“Atlanta Audubon was thrilled to partner with Amana’s crew to provide much needed nesting opportunities for the declining Brown-headed Nuthatch,” said Atlanta Audubon Executive Director Nikki Belmonte. “As these students grow up, this bird will suffer greatly from habitat loss and effects of climate change. This project demonstrated that when education takes a place-based, empathetic, and collaborative approach, it can result in real and necessary conservation action … You will soon see Brown-headed Nuthatch houses in Wills Park and throughout the city, thanks to the advocacy of these dedicated kids.“
Amana Academy is Georgia’s first and only STEM-Certified K-8 School. Amana’s mission is to prepare students to become changemakers. The school’s challenging academic program is rooted in the Harvard-based EL Education model, which empowers kids to reach beyond what they think they are capable of in order to make the world a better place. Students become leaders of their own learning, and collaborate on semester-long learning expeditions that seek to find solutions to real world problems locally and globally.