To get the students prepared, we do some reading beforehand. As a classroom read aloud, I read aloud the book Poppy by Avi.
Another two books I like to have on hand are 1) a nonfiction resource Owl Puke, the Book by Jane Hammerslough,
a great resource about an owl's food, where it lies in the food chain, and lots of more interesting information, and 2) White Owl, Barn Owl by Nicola Davies
This is a fiction text written by a zoologist, so it is firmly based in fact.
For a technology link, check out...
this site not only has a virtual owl pellet dissection but great teacher resources and information to purchase your own owl pellets.
Now comes the part the students are dying for...digging into owl pellets. I pass out paper towels, and tooth picks, recording sheets, and the foil-wrapped pellets. Before allowing them to rip open the foil like its Christmas morning, we take a moment to make some predictions about we will find inside. Since we have complete so much reading and preparations, they have a pretty good idea of what to expect, so I ask them to focus on what they think their owl must have eaten based on the size of the pellet.
After unwrapping, we take some time to record sketch and some observations of our pellets.
I have a water bottle on hand for those stubborn pellets, and I give the students some last minute instructions to be gentle and be care because the bones inside are very fragile. Then they break open their pellets and dig in.
I have them pause again and record another sketch and some more observations. Then they begin to find what is inside...
They were so engaged. And so excited to show me what was inside...
...just like Christmas!
Would you like to get your own copy of my recording sheet? Just click on the picture below!
Have fun dissecting!