Busy Beaks

In class, as part of their History unit, Year 1 students were exploring the concept ‘change and continuity’. To support this learning (in the Library) I decided to explore how play has changed over time.

Firstly, I shared the beautiful book Busy Beaks by Sarah Allen with the students (which they loved!).

The students were then required to interact with the story in 3 different ways:

  • Colouring In: students colour pages from the story
  • Lego: Build a bird out of Lego
  • Paint 3D: Draw a bird in 2D or 3D on the computer using Paint3D and use the mixed reality feature for fun!

Before starting we spoke about how colouring-in has been a playtime activity for hundreds of years and is still enjoyed today. We discussed how plastic enabled the creation of new toys such as Lego, and how this had an impact on play. Finally we considered how technology has changed play and they had many examples of this to offer.

Students were permitted to complete the 3 tasks in any order, and were allowed to spend as long as this wished on each task. As they completed each task they were required to add their feedback to a database (Did they enjoy it? Was it difficult to complete? etc). This proved to be a great tool for prompting discussions at the end of the lesson.

Database – each student had one row to complete. I had a number of these pages available.

At the completion of the lesson the class voted for their favourite task. Interestingly all 3 tasks were popular. I teach three Year 1 classes and each class voted for a different task as their favourite. Really surprising results.

The question Why do you think we voted for different activities? lead to a further discussion about opinions.

Questions for future lessons could include:

Why do some playtime activities stand the test of time whilst others come and go as short-lived ‘fads’?

Do old games and toys return to popularity and why? Elastics, rubik’s cube, yo-yos…

This was such a simple task, with all students engaged yet it gave so much to discuss in relation to the concept ‘change and continuity’, play over time and personal opinions.


Busy Beak Teacher’s Notes (Affirm Press): BUSY-BEAKS-TEACHERS-NOTES-ACTIVITIES.pdf (affirmpress.com.au)

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