Bluebird Houses

District: Northview School: Crossroads Middle
Teacher(s): Bruce Gaultney
Main Project Contact: Bruce Gaultney Email:
Grade Level: 7th and 8th Subject(s): Math Remediation
First Trimester: ___________ Second Trimester: ___________ Third Trimester: _________
First Semester: ___________ Second Semester: __________ All Year:  ___X___

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Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.

In today’s world young people are considered at-risk or disadvantaged for many reasons. By engaging these at risk young people in service-learning, both they and the community benefit. Providing engaging service-learning opportunities, students are less likely to engage in risky behaviors and are more likely to feel connected to their school and community. Service-learning can play an important part if shaping the lives of youth. Service-learning connects meaningful community service experiences with academic learning, personal growth, and civic responsibility.

Throughout our math intervention class, students will have opportunities to engage in service-learning. Our literacy coach and math remediation teacher are working together to implement academic service learning into the math remediation classroom. Students will apply their knowledge of mathematics to construct bluebird boxes.

They will apply what they are learning to build bird houses.


Effective Practice: MEANINGFUL SERVICE

Service learning actively engages participants in meaningful and personally relevant service activities.

What community need will you address and how did you determine the need?

Students brainstormed the types of birds that can be found in West Michigan. After a brief discussion, students were presented with an article about bluebirds. Teachers modeled how to track thinking with the first part of the article and then students finished tracking their thinking. Through reading, students learned about why bluebirds need our help. With the newly acquired knowledge, they brainstormed locations where nesting boxes might be needed.

They decided on three primary locations for the nesting boxes:
• Local veteran’s home
• School cross country course
• Lee Manufacturing

What service will you provide to address the need?

During math intervention, all students will use their newly acquired math skills to build bluebird nesting boxes.


Effective Practice: LINK TO CURRICULUM

Service learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.

How is this project related to your curriculum?

This project is interdisciplinary as it integrates reading, writing, research, and math.

Students will research to develop an understanding of why bluebird nesting boxes are needed. In addition, students will demonstrate knowledge of mathematical terms: right prism, diameter, parallelogram area, surface. They will practice on a model bluebird nesting box.

What are the educational goals?

Service learning is an excellent way to incorporate employability skills. The following are addressed throughout this project:
• Planning
• Time management
• Team work
• Business writing
• Reading for information
• Applied mathematics


Curriculum Crafter Connections

Strand: Geometry
TLW: Visualize relationships between two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects. (Gist: Two-Dimensional and Three-Dimensional Objects)

Additional State Standards and Benchmarks

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics:
• Geometry

  1. Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, surface area, and volume.
  2. Draw, construct, and describe geometrical figures and describe the relationships between them. (scale drawings)

• Statistics and Probability

  1. Use random sampling to draw inferences about a population.

Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading

  1. Key Ideas and Details

Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing

  1. Text Types and Purposes (informative/explanatory)
  2. Production and Distribution of Writing (clear, coherent writing)
  3. Production and Distribution of Writing (technology to produce and publish writing)
  4. Research to Build and Present Knowledge (conduct research and demonstrate understanding)


Effective Practice: REFLECTION

Service learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society.

What form(s) of reflection will you use with the students to help them identify what they have learned and accomplished?

Students will use I can statements to identify areas of success. In addition, students will keep a work log to track daily progress. At the end of the unit, students will write a reflection about the process of working collaboratively and how they feel about their final project.


Effective Practice: DIVERSITY

Service learning promotes understanding of diversity and mutual respect among all participants.

What types of diverse perspectives and experiences will be explored as part of your project?

(i.e.: cultural, generational, abilities/disabilities, learning styles, etc)

Students will demonstrate their knowledge through a variety of multiple intelligences.


Effective Practice: YOUTH VOICE

Service learning provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service learning experiences with guidance from adults.

How will students gain ownership of the project?

Students will gain ownership when they make a commitment to complete the project.



Service learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.

Who will you partner with for this project?

Lee Manufacturing, Inc. has agreed to partner with us by providing miscellaneous tools, safety equipment, and mounting posts. Plainfield Lumber has agreed to sell us the wood at a discounted price. Those bird houses will be donated to various organizations as well be used throughout the school grounds. Students will also donate bluebird nesting boxes to our local veteran home and to our school.

How will students benefit from this partnership?

These are students who struggle with academics specifically mathematics. The most important benefit from the partnership is that students will see themselves as people who can use math in their daily lives. Once students have completed the nesting boxes, they will have an opportunity to help hang them and this should increase their sense of accomplishment.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

Partners will be recognized at our school volunteer luncheon. In addition, we will promote their businesses our web page and parent email blast news. Partners will have bluebird nesting boxes which will be used to attract bluebirds.



Service learning engages participants in an ongoing process to assess the quality of implementation and progress toward meeting specified goals, and uses results for improvement and sustainability.

How will you assess the student learning goals?

Students will complete an I can statement checklist (metacognition)

Students will submit their practice scale drawing and talk aloud as they walk through the progress.

Students will submit their daily work log.

Students will be graded on the quality of the bluebird nesting boxes.

How will you assess your service goals?

Service goals will be assessed through reflection.



Service learning has sufficient duration and intensity to address community needs and meet specified outcomes.

How will you prepare students for this experience?

Prior to building the nesting boxes, students will be engaged in several tasks:
• Measuring a demonstration house in order to create plans
• Drawing a scale picture of the birdhouses and house pieces
• Determining the overall length of lumber needed and determine budget
• Reading several non-fiction pieces to research ideal habitat in which to hang the bluebird nesting boxes.

What are some possible activities students might do as part of this project?

• Demonstrating basic skills
• Using hand tool safety
• Incorporating research to develop an understanding of the need
• Creating a “Math and Science” of Attracting Bluebirds to display in the hallway and at Wildbirds Unlimited
• Writing thank you notes to sponsors