York Center's All School Project Soars to Success
To start the year, students across York Center participated in a school-wide science project. This project began with a book and ended with the printing of a 3d prosthetic eagle beak.
To get a full picture of what students learned about, we need to go back to 2005. It was then, a bald eagle in Alaska was discovered, soon to be named Beauty, who had lost its beak after being shot by a poacher. After much discussion, Jane Veltkampl from Birds of Prey Northwest insisted that the eagle could be saved and, through the use of prosthetics, a new beak could be created.
This story captured the nation’s attention and was wonderfully told in the non-fiction book ‘Beauty and the Beak’ by Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp. It was this book that students, 14 years after Beauty was rescued and saved, read. After reading the book, 10 students participated in a Google Hangout with author Jane Veltkamp and Beauty the eagle. They personally asked her questions while all students at York Center watched and intently listened. Talking to the author, asking questions, and seeing the bird, brought the story to life for students.
Susie Scott, the school’s literacy leader, said she “personally enjoyed the way we all came together to make this work as a school community. Everyone supported each other throughout this new experience. Overall, I think it was a great start to building our community of readers.”
Across the school, teachers used the book and its story in different ways. Students created poems, performed speeches, and even wrote letters to the author. In art, students learned how to draw bald eagles.
One of the highlights of the project was seeing the beak come to life in the LRC on a 3d printer. Students watched in awe as the printer laid out filament and saw the actual beak take form right in front of them. They witnessed how technology can be used to create something they may not have previously imagined was possible.
This story is not just an inspiring story about environmental issues, technology, and engineering, it taught students valuable lessons about empathy and perseverance. Jane Veltkamp’s message to students was a simple one. She believes that we humans need to take care of our wildlife and their habitats. According to her, many problems are caused by humans and it’s our responsibility to find solutions.
Our students were taught that it is through this process of finding solutions that you begin to see the value in collaboration, problem-solving, and creativity. These important life skills are working cohesively to help do something truly remarkable like saving the life of an animal as remarkable as Beauty.