Owl Pellet Dissection

Did you know that owls swallow their food whole, digest the edible parts, and then expel the indigestible parts through their mouths as a pellet? It sounds gross, but this is one of my favorite lessons to teach!

In this hands-on activity, students were given the opportunity to actually see the food chain in a real way! Students learned about the diets and eating habits of barn owls, observed how important they are to the ecosystem, and ultimately discovered the owls’ habitats. In pairs, students were given an owl pellet to dissect. They compared the contents of their pellet with a bone identification chart to determine the kinds of food their owl had eaten (e.g. voles, rats, shrews, small birds). They used the information they had learned along with the contents of their pellet to predict where their owl had lived.

As you can imagine, students begin the lesson very hesitant, but later on the whole classroom is filled with excitement towards learning!


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