A tweezer, binder clips, a cup of bird seed and a plastic dinner plate. You wouldn’t expect to see these items in a high school Biology Lab but those are exactly the tools supplied to students in Anthony Cervini’s science class. It’s all part of a state required lab where students at Eastchester High School learn about survival of the fittest and how animals can become extinct.
“You get to learn how the birds can’t always eat and that they may die out,” said ninth-grader Thomas Amoretti as he counted the seeds on his plate.
Students broke up into three groups and were timed as they used their beaks – those clips, tweezers, clothespins and tongs to pick up one seed at a time. A healthy competition ensued. Who would acquire enough seeds to live? How many finches could live on one island?
Depending upon the size of the “beak”, it wasn’t always easy to survive and some students had to migrate to another island - a different plastic plate with larger size bird seeds.
The activity brought the pages of a textbook to life. “I like to be involved in competition,” said sophomore Tina Cetaj as she looked for creative ways to use her clothes pin beak and snatch up seeds.