As soon as they go out to the patio, the group of children prick up their ears: “it looks like a mallarenga (charcoal)” says one, while listening to the song of a bird and the rest nod. The customs and song of other common species in the area such as pardales and verderoles (greenfinches) begin to speak.
They are fifth and sixth graders at the Escola Mossèn Bergadà in Constantí and they owe all this knowledge about birds to the joint project they have been carrying out to recover the birds that came to school and that have moved away a little after the reforms that have taken place in recent years.
They tell us about it while they proudly show the result of their work: some birdhouses of various designs that hang in the pine forest that is part of the patio.
Think like designers
And that is exactly what is peculiar about the project: the design. They have used the Design Thinking methodology, based on industrial design.
To begin with, they have thoroughly studied the problem and have called in an expert, in this case Enric Pàmies, an ornithologist. One of the students, Gerard, has been left with a precise piece of information; “The holes had to be 32 millimeters so that the species that we want to return would enter and other larger birds that could eat them would not enter.”
Carlos Páez, the professor at the head of the project, explains that they do it thanks to the fact that the sixth hour is preserved here. It has been useful to work with motivation on all subjects, from mathematics to language, as well as helping to reduce the digital divide, since they had to use a computer to make the final design. The most professional result was achieved thanks to the fact that the Serveis Educatius del Tarragonès lent them a laser cutter-engraver.
During the process, of course, there were also difficulties that they had to resolve together. “We imagined artificial grass, flowers, LED lights… And then we realized that the birds didn’t need any of that,” they laugh.
The children list a lot of moments that have made them happy during the process, such as when they were finally able to hang the houses on the trees, but the eight with whom we spoke, agree on one thing, “the best thing has been being able to work as a team after so much time in the bubble”, says Noa.
The teacher agrees, “the best thing is that they have been able to agree and realize that if they work together they can achieve their goals.”