Jane Ryan third graders with one of the bird feeders they made as part of an integrated, district wide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) project for all third grade students. In teams, the third graders researched Conn. birds, and then designed and built bird feeders for specific birds based on size, weight, and ideal locations for the feeder placement. The kids used recycled materials and got minimal help from adults.

The students are now observing and assessing how their designs are working. The many design failures have been viewed as learning opportunities; all structures have been analyzed for strengths and weaknesses, and innovations and problem solving were encouraged. Extension activities focused on the use of robotics and bio-technical prosthetic devices for birds and humans.