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Friday, April 1, 2011

Teachable Moment - Watch Live - Iowa Eagles

Making our way back to the classroom from Phys. Ed. the other day, one of the kindergarten teachers stopped my class in the hallway and invited them into her classroom.  I'll admit I was a tad bit annoyed because it was near the end of the day, and we still had some pressing things to get accomplished.  Quickly, my annoyance turned into absolute fascination!  Staring right at us was a momma eagle sitting on her 3 eggs waiting for them to hatch!  Talk about a 'Teachable Moment'!

Well, our kindergarten teacher was actually projecting a live stream video feed of a bald eagle's nest sitting high atop a tree in Decorah, Iowa.  The 'Nest Cam' is part of the  Raptor Resource Project whose mission is to "preserve and strengthen raptor populations."  Raptors are birds of prey. The eagle's eggs which were laid in February have an estimated hatching date of April 1st! 

  (This video created from a PowerPoint show produced by Colorado State University)

Watching the male and female eagles 'LIVE' has been the highlight of our week!  Everyday the kids rush into class sharing what they witnessed while watching the Nest Cam.   
Students' observations have included:
  * the male eagle swooping in and changing places with the female
  * moving and rolling the eggs closer together using their beak   
  * dinner (in the form of a mouse) being brought to the nest
  * the female eagle signaling to the male with a high pitched squawking
  * building up of the nest around the eagle's body

The students also blogged
about their observations, and also wrote short stories from the point of view of the eagle! They have been asking me question after question about eagles.  They are so en'raptor'ed by the whole thing!

The students have not been the only ones watching this extraordinary event, as their parents have been glued to the live feed as well. One parent commented,  "Not only is it a permanent fixture on our home computer...everyone I work with had it on their computer as a window today." Another parent stated "It's addicting - I can't wait to see the chicks". It's hard NOT to get excited about nature up close and personal!

To think I almost passed up this 'Teachable Moment!' Let this be a lesson to us all about capturing those 'teachable moments' for we never know where learning will lead us (or our students)! How lucky we all are to be able to experience the hatching of these majestic birds - the symbol of our nation! Thank you Ms. Bearce for drawing us in! 

Resources to help answer Eagle Questions:

Eagles 101: Although this is geared for kids in grades 5 - 8 it has a lot of information that can be shared with younger children.
Bald Eagle Facts for Kids:  Some quick facts about the eagle.
Bald Eagle Fun:  Coloring pages, greeting cards and games    
Bald Eagle Photos: Photos taken of Bald Eagles in Alaska
Ben's Guide to Government: Tells how the eagle came to be the symbol of the US Government

 What was your most recent 'Teachable Moment'? Please share it in the comment section. 


  1. I hope your students will be able to read their stories to the "K Kids"! KJJ

  2. Thanks Carol Ann.

    KarenJJ - I love that idea and will definitely find time to have them read! Thanks.

  3. Love this Nancy...can't stop watching. Even the older kids are interested! And I can not believe tje size of the " dinners" they bring back!

  4. Thank you, Nancy. Glad I saw a tweet that led me here to learn about this incredible resource. I am truly hooked and have shared it with everyone I know. Many of my coworkers and friends are now hooked also.

    I have written about the experience on my blog
    (Nancy, thanks for the comment too.)


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