Learning about owls is a favorite among my students. At the end of our owl unit, we dissect owl pellets. When my students learn what owl pellets actually are, some of them are appalled! When you think about it, dissecting owl pellets really is gross, but most of them love it.
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Before we do any dissecting, we read a variety of fiction and nonfiction owl books to gain a better understanding of owls. We learn what animals owls eat and how they eat them.
Every time I have ordered owl pellets, they have come with bone charts. I get my owl pellets here. Bone charts are usually included with the order. The charts have two or three different animals that the owl might have eaten. I have my students form a hypothesis about what they think their owl ate.
Dissecting Owl Pellets
Before we start the dissection, we gather our tools that we will be using.
- owl pellet
- paper plate
- toothpick or bamboo skewer (usually comes with the pellet)
- bone chart (usually comes with the pellet)
- owl pellet dissection journal (freebie below)
Once my students start, you can hear a pin drop. They are silent, while they concentrate on getting the bones separated from the fur. Occasionally, you hear a , “I found a bone!” Even the kids who were hesitant to do the activity get excited.
While they are dissecting their owl pellet, they fill out their journal with their with drawings and observations of the dissection process.
Do you dissect owl pellets with your class? If so, be sure to grab this owl pellet journal.