Have you ever experienced students refusing to do something because they are nervous, or grossed out? It is amazing to see how many of the students start with these thoughts, but by the end they have pushed themselves to be fully involved in the dissection and actually enjoy it! While learning!!
My students are all Juniors from the south side of Chicago.
There are 140 students dispersed into 6 biology classes. According to the 2009-2010 school statistics, 99.1% were black, 82.5% were low income,8.7% of the students have special needs, and they are all 100% lovable.
The owl pellets will be used for dissection during the food web lesson during the ecology unit. The students will be in pairs of 2 and will take apart the owl pellet. In this ball-like pellet, they will find hair, nails and bones. The bones will still be intact and they will identify the bones and then they will create a skeleton of the animal eaten. This is important because it gives them a hands on experience of how the food chains work, instead of them learning from a worksheet involving food webs.
It also makes ecology concrete for them. The students are able to realize that all other species of animals need to survive off of eating other animals and it is important for us to conserve the areas where these animals live. It also ties in with the body systems unit, because owls and humans have very different digestive systems. This way they can better understand our own, by being knowledgable of the digestive system of most birds.
Most of the junior biology students never were given an opportunity to do a dissection.
They are really looking forward to this during the upcoming months. Also, living on the south side of Chicago makes it difficult for them to experience nature, therefore this dissection will give them a better idea on how our ecosystem works.
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