The Lindbergh Foundation Believes that Innovative Science and Technology Hold the Key to Addressing Humanity’s Environmental and Productivity Challenges

Dr. Margaret A. Coffman, Science Education Consultant, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Empowering Students in Ecology, Music, and Computer Science through Active Participation in an Elementary Bird Song Curriculum

Category: Education: 2007


Elementary age students are surrounded by technology in the form of computers, cell phones, and music devices. Familiarity, however, does not necessarily indicate a high-level understanding of technology. Dr. Coffman will develop a curriculum that blends technology, science, and music, and present these diverse subjects in a manner that engages students with little interest in one subject through interaction with the others.

Using sound analysis software, students will learn to identify bird songs, analyze the musical characteristics of these songs, and associate the song characteristics with bird behavior and Chicadee habitat. Using spectrograms of bird songs and calls, students will identify key components and concepts that bridge science and music. Utilizing this interdisciplinary approach, her fourth- to sixth-grade curriculum will leverage students’ interest in technology to develop their knowledge of ecology and music. The curriculum also provides an opportunity for students to realize the connection of humans to their natural environment as they develop critical thinking skills. Funds from the Lindbergh Grant will be used to develop an activity guide with individual bird song lessons that connect science, music, and technology. These lessons will then be implemented in a local school where, as a final project, students will use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to create an ecologically-inspired musical composition. Chicadee photo by Phil Myers

This education grant is sponsored by the Lindbergh School District ad Community, St. Louis, Mo.

Project Update

For the second time, the Lindbergh School District and Community sponsored a Lindbergh Foundation grant and invited the grant recipient to speak to the students. During her visit on May 8, 2008, Dr. Coffman spoke at a breakfast with fifth-grade teachers, gave a teacher workshop, and participated in a program for all district fifth-graders.

To learn more about Dr. Coffman's project and her experience at the school, click here.

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Video Sample

Amazing! Bird Sounds From the Lyre Bird

This is a video clip featuring the amazing lyre bird.