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Winging It: Cross Divisional Bird Dissection

At Lincoln, we are in the habit of seeking out opportunities for exploration and learning, but sometimes, those moments for growth find us.

A few days ago, Dr. Sarah Harkness, an emergency room doctor and the mom of Ginkgo Room student Olivia Brown, heard a loud thud against the window of their home. When she walked over to investigate, she found a robin that had passed away upon impact. Clearly intrigued by the the morning’s events, Olivia eagerly shared the story with her friends and teachers upon her arrival in the classroom.

“The children’s interest grew as Olivia told us more and more about the bird,” said Ginkgo Room teacher Theresa Crum. “With the excitement growing in the classroom, I reached out to Dr. Harkness to see if she might be able to bring the bird into school so that we could study it.”

She was happy to comply with a request that stemmed from the students’ eager curiosity, and the preserved bird was delivered to the Ginkgo Room.

Armed with rubber gloves, magnifying glasses, and plenty of hand sanitizer, the students examined the bird, stretching out its wings, spreading its tail feathers, and pulling down its feathers to get a closer look. The initial exploration only led to more questions, including:

  • Does it have worms inside of its belly?
  • Does it have a heart?
  • Is the inside the same as the inside of a parakeet?
  • Will we see a lot of blood when we cut it open?


Crum let her students’ curiosity guide their learning, and reached out to Science Department faculty member Jenn Bowdoin, who invited the Ginkgo students to join her Upper School Biology class to look for the answers to their questions.

On Tuesday morning, the classes gathered for a cross-divisional bird dissection, working together to explore the bird for more information on the things that had stumped the Ginkgo Room.

“My girls had no idea we were doing this until they showed up for class, and I think they rolled with it really well,” shared Bowdoin. “It seemed to come pretty naturally to them to work with the Pre-K kids, even when doing something they have never done before. They said that they really enjoyed the experience and that they would like to do it again!”

The bird who sparked such interest is kindly buried, but it leaves behind a whole group of students who learned so much from it!