Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Lens of Science

Students need hands on experiences to explore and engage in science concepts. We had a science lesson on owl pellets this morning, which gives students insight into the ecosystem the owl lives in. Students examined an owl pellet and found evidence of what the owl has eaten. This shows the food chain of the owl. Our young scientists had a blast exploring their owl pellet, making new discoveries. If you are wondering what an owl pellet is, here is a good answer for you:

 Owls are birds of prey. That means that they hunt the animals that they eat. After an owl eats the small rodents, birds, and bugs that are a part of its nightly diet, its stomach cannot digest the fur, bones, teeth, feathers, and insect shells from that food. These "extra" parts are formed into a tight PELLET inside the owl and are then are later SPIT UP by the owl. Pellets are usually about as big as an adult thumb and they are often dissected by students and scientist to help them learn exactly what owls eat and what kinds of small animals and bugs live in a particular area. If you get a chance to examine what is inside an owl pellet, you will be lucky, there is a lot to learn and it is surprisingly FUN!

We kicked off our lesson like real scientists would, gathering supplies and making predictions. Students needed to think about what biotic and abiotic factors are in an owl’s ecosystem. We watched a short video about owls thanks to PBS learning media! We also saw you could dissect a virtual owl pellet at home! I love the look students first get when they see an owl pellet. They don’t know if they should be excited or repulsed. Regardless the conversation about what they find in their pellet is amazing as students begin to construct knowledge of how an owl lives and interacts with its ecosystem. Students learn more by doing! We are lucky to have these learning experiences where students can engage, explore, and reflect.

See photos in our class Google photo album or social media accounts.


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