Sunday, 6 May 2012

Owls this for progress?

Ooo that was bad wasn't it?

This terrible pun was inspired by Sprite and his owl project which is almost finished.  Yeah!  His enthusiasm was sparked by the opportunity to dissect owl pellets.  I have been putting this activity off for some time but Sprite was beside himself with excitement at the mere thought of doing it and just in case it inspires you too here are just a few of the pictures we took of the whole process. Please note however, that because of the gross factor I had to take off part way through and Crush abandoned his dissection completely so you may want to skip the photos!

We had to soak the owl pellets [which are basically a ball of  bones, fur, feathers etc that the owl is unable to digest of it's prey which he then regurgitates] in a non-cloudy disinfectant for 30 minutes; I just found out you can keep them in the freezer for 48 hours too which does the same job.  Sprite found it difficult to get all the wet fur out from the inside of skulls etc. however, Crush did his dry and thought the pellet was easier to dissect.

They used tweezers and tooth picks to separate the bones from the fur.
Here you can see some bones making an appearance.
These are some of  Sprites skulls -he had quite a collection by the time he had finished.

...lower jaws

he was able to use a flow chart to identify the prey that the owl had eaten
...finally he used this chart that we got form the internet to place all the bones and he stuck it all onto a mini blackboard so we can hang it on the wall in our classroom cum dining room. Great!

Sprite then used this information sheet to identify the owls prey.
I gave all the children the opportunity to dissect a pellet but two refused and Crush couldn't see his through to the end; it was making him feel queesey. Sprite was the only one to see it through to the end and ended up with all the bones which he went on to soak in bleach to whiten.  He is currently contemplating how to store them.  He only needs to complete the booklet of his dissection and then he can finish his lapbook.  This project, although it took an immense amount of time, involved a lot of research on his part and although there wasn't any tangible evidence of his learning he was continually learning about the topic; we have watched what must amount to 100's of videos, read copious amounts of info in web sites and books and he has done some fab art work related to this project - the most amazing of which was an A1 size owl decorated in real feathers resting on a branch; sadly I can't find the photographs of it and it has since been binned; it seems that small children couldn't help but pull off the feathers lol.

Photos of the completed project will ensue, God willing!


ummrashid said...

That really is quite unpleasant LOL! I don't think any of my kids would be able to bring themselves to do it - although the girls will enjoy looking at your photos!

Umm Adam said...

Wa alaikum assalaam sis, I'm not sure what put the kids off but for me it was the thought that the pellet had been regurgitated and having fur in the mix. He wants to be a vet when he's older so having a strong stomach for this sort of stuff will stand him in good stead LOL! xXx

Umm Tafari said...

As salaam alaikm,

Well, I guess we are odd because we actually go out in the woods and try to find these!

I have bought some before, but they were a little too young I think.

I'm impressed with their work though, maashaa Allah.

Umm Adam said...

Wa alaikum assalaam sis. We did plan to go an hunt for them ourselves but the rain wouldn't let up. So, on account of Sprites 'about to burst' state of mind and the fact that I had some in stock for selling we used them instead alhamdulillah. LOL, he was soooo keen mashaAllah it was killing him to wait so long. It was interesting for him when he looked through his brothers pellet as they had obviously different bones of different density etc. he really enjoyed being a detective and working out to which animal they belonged to etc.
Wassalaam xXx