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Science - 2nd Grade
Standard 4 Objective 2
1 class periods of 60 minutes each
Students dissect owl pellets. After dissection, they sort the bones and glue them onto a picture of a vole skeleton.
Owls are birds of prey. They eat rodents, birds and large insects. Since they don't have teeth to chew their prey - they swallow it whole. Owls cannot digest the bones, fur, teeth, feathers or hard insect parts of their prey. These parts collect in their gizzard, a storage area in their stomach. Their stomach muscles form these parts into a ball which the owls eventually spit out.
An owl usually regurgitates its owl pellet within 20 hours of eating its meal (which may consist of more than one animal). The owl cannot eat again until the pellet is regurgitated. Owls are crucial to our environment because they keep the rodent population under control.
Caution: Some students with severe animal fur allergies may get itchy, watery eyes or a runny nose. Ask students before beginning if they have allergies to animal fur. If it bothers them, have them wash their hands and face and stop the dissection.
Pre-lab discussion: Explain to students how owls are birds of prey and have pictures of several owls to show them. Discuss what an owl pellet is and how an owl forms one. Discuss how the formation of an owl pellet is a biological process that allows the owl to meet its basic needs.
Rio Tinto Hands-on Science Curriculum Team