Rising 6th graders at West Rocks Middle School dissect owl pellets and hold a snake!


Michael Richards, a Social Studies Teacher for grades 6 and 7 at West Rocks Middle School during the school year, is leading our summer transition program at West Rocks for rising 6th graders. Today, one of the teachers working with Mr. Richards, Mrs. Glenda Charles, introduced some of the Carver summer students to the fun of holding a snake and dissecting owl pellets!

Owls are opportunistic hunters that will eat anything they can find, including snakes. However, no owl feeds mainly on snakes. Their primary prey depends on the size and species of owl. Small owls such as the Screech owl feed mostly on insects, while Barn Owls have a distinct preference for rodents.

Owls swallow their prey whole or in chunks and regurgitate pellets of undigested material, including bones and fur. Owl pellet dissection allows students to investigate and identify bones, compare and sort the skeletons of prey, and learn about the characteristics and habits of owls. This is an excellent introductory-level dissection activity to reinforce basic science process skills. The activity supports 3-dimensional learning and builds toward the following NGSS Scientific and Engineering Practices (analyzing and interpreting data and constructing explanations), and NGSS Core Ideas (Life Science, Ecosystems, Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics).

See the images below of Carver summer students entering the 6th grade in the fall experience this introductory dissection activity that helps students understand predator prey relationships, as well the food cycle.