Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Owl Pellet Investigations at Connors

On Thursday, October 16, 2008, Mrs. Carol Shields, a senior curriculum and professional development specialist at Stevens Institute of Technology, visited Mrs. DeGennaro’s fourth grade class at Connors School. She provided the students with owl pellets which enabled them to have a hands-on experience to capture a full understanding of their lesson on owls.
Prior to her visit, Mrs. DeGennaro taught the children about owls, introduced vocabulary, read several owl stories, and showed a video entitled See How They Grow: Forest Animals, (Dorling Kindersley Vision).
The children worked in small groups and eagerly got to work dissecting the owl pellets. They reconstructed the skeleton of the owl’s prey. At first, some students were squeamish and reluctant to attempt this activity, but soon got into it with great enthusiasm and excitement. Science truly came to life!
I used the terms related to owls as our spelling words for the week, had the children write stories about the life of an owl, used a copy of National Geographic Explorer (October 2007) which centers on Owls and supports this lesson beautifully, made owls out of toilet paper holders, and taught the students a short poem about owls. The children also wrote letters to Ms. Shields thanking her for her assistance. They also created owl booklets.
However as they say, the proof is in the pudding, and asking my students to explain the various concepts learned with full understanding was perhaps, the best part of this learning experience.
Our bulletin board on display in the hallway was created by the students and captures the essence of what they have learned.