Introduce Library Resources with a Challenge

Are you looking for a fun and efficient way to introduce library resources to your learning community? I have an idea for you. Challenge learners to design a squirrel-proof bird feeder. This task will inspire learners to explore bird feeders and squirrel behavior. Learners will want to find books and online resources to gather information. This provides you with an opportunity to introduce library resources that learners can access from anywhere.


AASL Standards Framework for Learners V.A.1: Learners develop and satisfy personal curiosity by reading widely and deeply in multiple formats and write and create for a variety of purposes.

Begin the lesson by telling learners you have a problem. Squirrels keep eating the food in your bird feeder. Explain that you need their help to design a bird feeder that squirrels can’t get into. In order to do this, they’ll need to research bird feeders and squirrel behavior. Then, they can draw a squirrel-proof bird feeder based on their findings.

Ask learners what they know and wonder about squirrels and bird feeders. Record responses on an anchor chart. Explain that the library has resources that might help them find answers to their questions.

Scaffold this lesson by focusing on one online resource per lesson and give learners time to explore.

Online Library Catalog

Introduce learners to the online library catalog. Demonstrate how to find books about squirrels. Explain how learners can “order” the books if you offer this service to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Point to the e-book collection if books about squirrels are available. Consider creating a video on how to use the library catalog and share it with parents and classroom educators.

Databases and Encyclopedias

Show learners how to access online databases and encyclopedias. If your school does not have access to online subscriptions, contact the public library. They may have purchased a license that allows the school community to use their resources. For free subject indexes, check out DK Find Out and National Geographic.

Google SafeSearch

Demonstrate how to activate the SafeSearch setting in Google. To do this, go to Google’s search engine. Then, click on “Settings” in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Go to “Search Settings,” and click in the “Turn on SafeSearch” box. Scroll down, and click “Save.”

Model how to search the phrase “Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder” and explore search results. Show the process of finding helpful information and staying safe when searching online.


What do you do when you have plenty of time on your hands? If you are Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer, you design an elaborate squirrel maze. While staying at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Rober wanted to fill his free time with bird watching. After setting up a bird feeder, he discovered that squirrels, not birds, were eating the food. He wanted to put a stop to this. Watch “Building the Perfect Squirrel Proof Feeder” to see how Rober uses his engineering skills to solve this problem. Viewers will learn a great deal about squirrel behavior and the engineering process by watching this video.

Picture Books

  • Girl Versus Squirrel by Hayley Barrett and Renée Andriani: In this story, Pearl makes three different bird feeders. She fills them with suet, seeds, and peanuts. A squirrel finds the peanuts and eats them until Pearl chases her away. Pearl modifies the bird feeder, but the squirrel still manages to get the peanuts. When Pearl notices something interesting about the squirrel, she has a change of heart and makes a feeder for the squirrel. Readers will enjoy the surprise in the story. They’ll also appreciate learning more about squirrels on the “Some Squirrelly Facts” page at the end of the book.
  • Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines by Sarah Aronson and Robert Neubecker: Did you know that Rube Goldberg never made any of the elaborate contraptions he illustrated? This idea may intrigue the creative thinkers in your class. Invite learners to take a look at the illustrations in the story to gather ideas for their squirrel-proof bird feeder designs.

How are you sharing library resources with learners? Please share in the comment box below!


Author: Maureen Schlosser

Author: Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades and Social and Emotional Learning for Picture Book Readers published by ALA Editions
Skillshare Teacher:

Categories: Blog Topics, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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1 reply

  1. “Those Darn Squirrels,” by Adam Rubin is a must read picture books for this lesson.

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