Jack, one of the Explorers at Schoolmates, arrived on a Monday morning with a photograph and a great story about an owl, a mouse, and three blue jays. Earlier that morning, Jack and his mom heard a racket in their backyard. They went outside together to investigate. In a large pine tree, they saw an owl holding a mouse, while blue jays squawked around it.
Jack was eager to share this story with his teachers and classmates. This created a wonderful learning opportunity for the whole class. We found a picture of his owl in our classroom reference book. It was a barred owl. I explained the eating habits of owls during circle time.
Owls eat their prey whole or in large pieces. This prey passes directly from the owl’s mouth into a two part stomach. The digestible parts of the prey are broken down by stomach acids in the first chamber and then move to the owl’s intestines. The undigestible part—fur, feathers, scales, and bones move to the second part of the stomach—the gizzard and are formed into a pellet. This pellet is regurgitated by the owl and dropped to the ground.
Children are natural scientists. They watch, explore, investigate, and ask questions both in school and out. We encourage our Explorers to share their discoveries, and believe a strong home/school connection enriches us all.
Check out Barking Frog Farm’s post: The Owl Pellet and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s thoughts on kids and science.