My students need a set of sterile owl pellets, an owl pellet resource guide and disposable gloves.
I teach seventh grade science students in a diverse community. Our campus serves as the school district's newcomer magnet, so many children have been U.S. residents for less than one year. The students often do not have a lot of material goods, but they do have loving families, a lust for learning, and a desire to make good by doing good.
Two things guarantee the interest of 13 year old children: the human body and the really repulsive! My students are very interested in learning about their bones, a seventh grade standard. They would be more interested if their lessons were not merely the assembly of a small, paper doll, skeleton. Owl pellets, the undigested bits of fur and bone that the birds vomit up after eating their prey, are truly repulsive. Fortunately, owls mostly eat rodents - not people. However, all vertebrate skeletons share many characteristics. By studying the skeletons of mice, rats, and voles, students also learn about their own skeletons.
My school has a lot of heart, but not a lot of bird “barf!” We need materials to do this lesson. The students will appreciate the authentic learning experience of dissecting an owl pellet in order to learn about the vertebrate skeleton. They will identify the bones, analyze their features in order to determine the species to which the bones belong, and create partially rearticulated skeletons. The owl pellet kit provides enough pellets for the students to work together in small groups and various identification aides. My students need a safe working environment. Although the pellets are sterilized prior to being sent to the school, their contents do support the growth of bacteria; it is therefore recommended that the students wear gloves. The use of gloves will also allow them to have a bonus mini-lesson on universal precautions and the prevention of the spread of pathogens. A manual should provide both teachers and students with the information needed to resolve difficult bone identifications and resolve the mysteries of owl digestion. The manual is a renewable resource which will remain useful for many years.
You can make a difference: Examining an owl pellet is a memorable experience which will flesh out student interest in life science. They will remember not just the parts of the skeleton, but the spirit of discovery. An adventurous and probing spirit is a lesson which lasts a life time. Remember, if you can “throw up” some support for this project my students will “hurl” thank you notes in your direction.
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|Resource Manual for Owl Pellet Labs • Carolina Biological Supply Company||$19.35||1||$19.35|
|DISPOSABLE FOOD HANDLING GLOVES, MEDIUM SIZE -- Galaxy Disposable Food Handling Gloves; Medium • Quill||$1.97||3||$5.91|
|Owl Pellet Study Classroom Kit • Carolina Biological Supply Company||$53.96||1||$53.96|
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