The Nesting Box Project
The lives of birds in different times of the year. That has been the theme of a Nordplus Junior project involving schools in Norway and Lithuania.
- Our cooperation gives added value to the learning. The pupils get to see their everyday life from a new perspective and to communicate in English, says Eirik Winsents, project coordinator and teacher at Gamlegrendåsen Skole in Kongsberg, Norway.
In the ”The Nesting Box Project” – a cooperation between Gamlegrendåsen Skole and Saule Private Secondary School in Vilnius – pupils have observed local bird species in different seasons: from winter to spring, summer and autumn. The pupils have built nesting boxes and food stations nearby their schools, and observed what species that have found the boxes, their breeding, counted the eggs and observed the young birds leaving the nest.
- We have wanted to make the pupils more aware of their nearby environment and to increase their interest in environmental issues, says Eirik Winsents.
The pupils have compiled the results of the observations and shared them through a common website. Also, Norwegian and Lithuanian teachers have visited each others’ schools and taken part in the teaching.
Different conditions for learning
When it comes to the occurrence of different bird species, the situation is quite similar in Norway and Lithuania, Eirik Winsents explains. However, regarding the conditions of learning there are obvious differences between the two countries.
The Saule school is a private school with small classes – only between ten and fifteen pupils – whilst the classes at the Norwegian Gamlegrendåsen Skole can have up to 28 pupils. In Lithuania there is a stronger emphasis on theory in the teaching, whilst in Norway more of the teaching takes place outside the classroom, in nature.
- Their school is situated in the city of Vilnius – Gamlegrendåsen Skole is located in the outskirts of a small town, says Eirik Winsents. It is much easier for us to make excursions with the pupils.
Impressed by the colleagues
The Norwegian ”nature school” is something Vida Sinkeviciene, responsible for the project in Lithuania, and her colleagues particularly appreciated when visiting Norway. Eirik Winsents, on the other hand, is very impressed by the pedagogical skills of the Lithuanian teachers.
- They are really specialists in their subjects, not generalists as we here in Norway.
Plan for a new project
Now, the two schools plan to apply for Nordplus funding for a new project, on the theme cultural differences between Norway and Lithuania. ”Take my hand and be my friend” is the working title.
- In this project we also hope to be able to carry through a pupil exchange, says Eirik Winsents.
TEXT/ Karin Andrén, the International Programme Office for Education and Training