When given the task today to pick up a children’s book– and figure out how I would use it in a classroom, I chose Seabird in a Forest by Joan Dunning. In general, it is a story in response to the mystery of a small seabird called the marbled murrelet. It took a long time for scientists to figure out where they nested. When they finally realized that the nests were far from the sea, and rather in the middle of old-growth forests inland, these scientists were fascinated. Why do the birds do this? Why do they raise their chicks high up in trees far from the ocean? Why do the adults go to the ocean each day for fish, and bring the food back inland to their young?
As a social studies teacher, I immediately thought of using the same types of questions raised in the story, but in talking about people. Throughout history, what are trends of why people move and where they are moving? I would hope students would think about things such as hunter and gatherer lifestyles, herdsman, subsistence. I would also want students to think of things such as globalization, economics and climate change. Why have people chosen to live places? Why was where we are decided upon as a town?
Although this story fits much easier into a science class, I could draw parallels from it into a social studies class.