What's The Point
Combine the fun of feeding your local birds and building your child’s measuring and fraction skills while you create a homemade bird feeder.
– The Hummingbird Power Suits need nectar to keep them going. Help the Kratt Brothers make it to their various destinations by lapping up just the right amount of nectar for the journey.
This Activity Will Help Your Child
- Identify local birds and what they eat
- Build measurement and fraction skills
- Fractions = Trouble!
by Claudia Mills
- Piece = Part = Portion
by Scott Gifford
- Whole-y Cow! Fractions are Fun
by Taryn Souders
Pinecone or whole fruit (such as an apple)
Peanuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, and cranberries for bird seed mixture
Dull knife for spreading
How Do I Do It?
Gather Bird Information and Measure Bird Feeder Materials
- Invite your child to observe the birds around your neighborhood. Explain that bird feeders are a fun way to attract birds. Today you get to make one using fractions!
- If you have individual measuring cups, have your child lay them out from smallest (1/4 cup) to biggest (1 cup). If you have a single measuring cup, help your child identify the fractions on the side of the cup. Explain that a fraction is a part of a whole.
- Measure ¼ cup of each of the following: peanuts, raisins, sunflower seeds and cranberries. Pour these into a mixing bowl.
- Explain to your child that the four parts of the birdseed mixture equal one whole batch of birdseed. Then ask:
- Seeds make up what fraction of the mixture? (1/4)
- Nuts make up what fraction of the mixture? (1/4)
- Fruits make up what fraction of the mixture? (1/2)
- Measure 1/3 cup peanut butter.
- How many 1/3 cups of peanut butter would it take to get one cup?
Build your Bird Feeder
- With a dull knife, spread the 1/3 cup of peanut butter over the outside of the pinecone or whole fruit.
- Roll the pinecone or fruit in the birdseed mixture.
- Tie a string to the top of your bird feeder and hang it from a tree branch.
Note: Birds enjoy a variety of healthy nuts and fruits; however, confirm that any substitutes are appropriate for your local species.
Take It Further
- Observe the bird feeder daily to estimate what fraction of the food has been eaten. Keep track of the fractions in a notebook.
- Use tally marks to keep track of the different kinds of birds that ate from the bird feeder during a period of time. Add up the tally marks for each kind of bird and then use fractions to compare your findings. (For example: 8 kinds of birds ate at the feeder, two of them were Cardinals, so 1/4 of the birds eating at the feeder were Cardinals).