When I read Memoirs of a Parrot by Devin Scillian, I loved the memorable parrot, Brock/Echo, who loves his crackers. After we read the book, I gave the kids in my co-op STEM Challenge class a new challenge: Make a new bird cage for Echo’s friend, Tik Tok, so they can adopt him from the pet store.Buildling a bird cage helped us practice designing and engineering a creation. Fun picture book inspired lesson!

The Bonus of Picture Book STEM

One of the great things about using a picture book to begin our STEM Challenge is that it grounds the kids. It gives them a distinct purpose to their creation. Elementary kids love a great story, and when they have a character in mind, it makes it all the more fun to create for said character. I always try to start our STEM Challenge day with a great story.

Memoirs of a Parrot by Devin Scillian follows a parrot from the pet store to Todd’s house over the course of 15 days. Todd has a hard time getting along with his parrot (from the parrot’s perspective, it is partially because Todd wants to call him Echo instead of Brock). But as time goes by, Echo the parrot comes to appreciate Todd and his ukulele. Echo likes to put his cracker in the toaster, and he loves the figs Todd feeds him. In an amusing series of events, the two become friends.

Preparing the Bird Cage STEM Bin

I bring a huge box with STEM supplies every week that we have our co-op. I include tons of materials for building. This week, I made sure to bring some of the following:

  • popsicle sticks
  • masking tape and duct tape
  • cardboard (plus a box cutter for an adult to help kids cut it)
  • bowls and cups
  • wooden skewers
  • coffee filters
  • raffia, string, and ribbon
  • straws

Build a Bird Cage STEM Challenge

Echo had such a memorable personality. He liked to toast his crackers, and he told his friend Tik Tok at the pet shop all about how yummy they were! So, I stipulated that the kids had to leave an opening for the bird in the bird cage so he could toast his crackers if he wanted. As an added bonus, the kids needed to add a “perch” for the bird to sit on. We used a small blue “little people” bird as our model.

It is so much fun to see the creativity of young people as they go to work with the tools they have!

Here are some of the results of our Bird Cage STEM challenge! Pin it for later!
Buildling a bird cage helped us practice designing and engineering a creation. Fun picture book inspired lesson!

Want more STEM? Check out my overview of my co-op STEM Challenges class.

Storybook Science

Want to see more Storybook Science ideas? Click over to Inspiration Laboratories for the fourth year of the annual Storybook Science series!

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