Remember my big yellow bulletin board that was a literacy bulletin board turned math bulletin board? Well, today it turned science bulletin board and looked like this:
We began by watching a Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs segment with Mike Rowe on how owl pellets are collected. It's a pretty funny and informative intro to the activity that's only about ten minutes long. Plus, the teacher gets to look at Mike Rowe for a bit! ;-)
For the activity, the kids get an owl pellet, two to a pellet, and then they take it apart while completing a lab sheet full of observations and questions. The pellet below really freaked out a few of my friends as there was a big bone sticking out of it.
Here's one unwrapped. A bit icky! At least that is what many of my friends thought.
Yeah, I really do have to remind them to not taste the owl pellet. For a group of kids who, every year are without fail a bit freaked out at the start of the activity, they quickly get so involved that this becomes a necessary reminder.
So, on to the dissecting!
Can I just take a moment here and point out how the day of an elementary school teacher is so varied? Unlike middle school and high school where you generally stick to one subject, we elementary teachers have to do it all! Before testing we were working on algabraic equations, formulas for volume, learning how to craft a five paragraph essay that has quality content and tension, and now today I'm knee deep in rodent bones! No offense to my middle and high school teachers, but ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS ROCK!
After my friends had completed the lab, we had about an hour left until dismissal. We used that time to make some teaching posters about owl pellets. I gave my friends free reign. The only rule was the poster had to TEACH something about owl pellets and not just look nice. It was also a way for me to use up some very bright flourescent poster board I had.
All in all, I would say Owl Pellet Day was a great success. One of my friends even wore this shirt today!
If you have an interest in owl pellets without the mess, there is a great site called Kid Wings that has virtual owl pellet dissections. It begins with a great teaching lesson on owl pellets, an owls digestive track, and more. Then it lets you dissect pellets from a variety of different types of owls. It's fun without the funk!
So, what did you do today?