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Owl Pellets Up Close And Personal


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Keywords: Science owl pellets
Subject(s): Science, Life Science, Writing, Math
Grades 3 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: South Side Elementary School, Bristol, CT
Planned By: james harrigan
Original Author: james harrigan, Bristol
Lesson Plan- Science
Survival Needs- Matter and Energy in Ecosystems
James Harrigan- South Side School Bristol, CT
Teaching Point: All organisms depend on the living and non-living features of the environment for survival.
Teaching Method: Demonstration, both teacher and student aided. Three class periods.
Materials: HoverCam Solo 5, owl pellets, Styrofoam trays, triple beam balance scale, tweezers, wooden probes, Ziploc baggies, sorting bone sheets, science journals.
Connection: Students will be reminded of previous lessons related to nature’s food chain and will be told that they will investigate a sample of a predatory animal’s waste in order to gain an understanding for what this raptor has been eating in order to stay alive in the wild. The predator being featured is a barn owl and the waste comes in the form of an owl pellet.
Teaching: Students will examine a chart of a barn owl’s most common food choices and will be shown how to measure the mass of their owl pellet using a scientific scale. Use of the HoverCam Solo 5 will allow for accurate projection of images that can serve as useful models when students begin the process of cataloging their own pellets. They will weigh, draw, and measure their pellets with data being recorded in their science journals. The second lesson will take further advantage of technology as we will explore the exterior of the sample owl pellet through the projected images on the SmartBoard. Students will come up and point out signs of bone, fur, or feathers that are visible on the outside of the pellet itself. Projecting these images will allow students to anticipate what they might find when confronted with their own sample for examination. The third lesson will allow students to begin to break apart the sample owl pellet using the camera for creating an intimate, yet whole class visual experience. This will be done gradually and gently in order to model the correct techniques needed to separate the fur from the skeletal remains of the rodent being examined. The HoverCam Solo 5 will be employed throughout this unit when “interesting” finds occur as each student separates, sorts, identifies, and finally reassembles a skeleton of the rodent, bird, or snake that made up the bulk of the owl pellet they have been working with.
Active Involvement: Use of the camera will provide an excellent format by which to demonstrate the various stages needed to effectively catalog, measure, break apart, sort, and assemble bones from an owl pellet. Students will model expected behaviors through the lens of the camera prior to independent work beginning.
Link: Use of owl pellets to explore the food chain in a natural setting can be a most engaging unit of study. Students will come away with a deeper understanding of human’s role in protecting natural habitats in order to maintain this balance in nature.

Comments
I have all materials. I am hoping to receive a camera to use in support of this unit of study.
Materials: Video Cameras, Flash Memory Camcorders
Other Items: 25 Owl pellets, $2.50 each, total of $62.50