Hi! It’s Tuesday, June 21, 2011 and time for Science at ClickSchooling!
KidWings: Virtual Owl Pellet Dissection
Age Range: 8 and up (approximately, with parental supervision)
The KidWings website offers a free “Virtual Owl Pellet Dissection.” What’s an owl pellet? It’s the regurgitated bones and hair — the undigested leftovers — from an owl’s meal. If you pull the pellet apart, you find the hair and bones from the creatures the owl eats — for example, mice, rabbits, voles, etc.
You can learn a lot about owls and their prey from studying real owl pellets. If you don’t have any real pellets handy, this interactive dissection is a great (and a much less icky) substitute.
When you get to the site, you’ll see a menu with three choices:
*Pellet Information – Read a description of an owl pellet, learn how they are formed, see what’s inside a pellet, and more.
*Pellet Directions – Get instructions on how to conduct the online virtual pellet dissection. (Click on the “next” buttons on the clipboard to read them all.)
*Virtual Owl Pellet – Use your “mouse” to dissect a virtual owl pellet. Identify contents with a handy bone chart.
When you’re through with the dissection, place your cursor over “More Pellets” on the horizontal menu at the top of the screen. A drop down list appears from which you can select more dissection opportunities. Dissect pellets from these birds:
- Barn Owl
- Barred Owl
- Belted Kingfisher
- Eastern Screech Owl
- Great Horned Owl
- Herring Gull
- Loggerhead Shrike
- Long-eared Owl
- Northern Hawk Owl
- Northern Saw-whet Owl
- Snowy Owl
Click on any one, and a new page opens with a picture of the pellet. Use your mouse to break apart the pellet and organize the various bones inside of it. Then, identify the creature the bones belong to and reassemble its skeleton.
You’ll also find “Teacher Resources” with links to a free downloadable worksheet, bone chart, coloring pages, and instructional videos on owl pellet dissection.
While you’re on this page, notice the menu on the left side of the screen. Use it to discover many more interactive learning opportunities about birds including information on:
- Bird Skulls
Click on “Bird Topography” to assemble a bird by clicking on the various parts of its anatomy while learning the scientific name for each.
Don’t miss “Just for Fun” — Play a bone matching game, assemble a bird puzzle, do an owl word search and cross word puzzle, or enjoy the online coloring book.
If you enjoy virtual dissections of owl pellets you might want to try the real thing. You can order an owl pellet kit and get a 10% discount on the merchandise. Details are on the website.