It’s a winter wonderland! C.A. Frost Environmental Academy preschool students ventured through the Blandford woods to learn more about the animals that live here.
Already they’re getting a jump start towards understanding the big idea in the Kindergarten Next Generation Science Standards:
Where do animals live and why do they live there?
We first investigated these “found” objects that came from Blandford’s birds. (They also had discovered one on their previous hikes in the woods.) As the students investigated the objects they uncovered what they soon identified as fur and bones.
How might the bird have gotten the fur and bones? What kind of bird could do this? The groups took turns sharing their discoveries.
The students used the bone charts to classify, sort and count the bones. One student had 20 bones another had 24. This sure gave a great reason to practice counting skills so that we could find out which team had the most. Ramona shared her counting tip with her classmates, “I found it worked to put the bones in a line. It helped me count them.”
Now it’s time to meet the cool creatures that created these pellets. We met the Great Horned Owl, the “Tiger Bird.” The students inferred that this type of owl did not have a great sense of smell if it eat skunks, “Pee YEW!”
“What do you wonder? In the Wildlife Center we encouraged the skill of questioning.
Through their questions and hearing the stories of these owls the students learned the following and more:
- Who is the owl that had its home cut down with a chainsaw?
- Who is the owl that is Michigan’s smallest species?
- When do owls hunt for their food?
- What do the owls have for their body covering?
We ended the adventure with a hike back to school. The students explored the forest in search of clues of how the owls that live in the forest are able to survive. They were in search of animal tracks, shelters in trees and evidence of water.
About the Author: Janet Staal didn’t want to contain student learning to the confines of a desk, so she broke down the walls and began teaching outside. Equipped with a teaching certification in elementary education (Science and Math emphasis), she began her adventures as an educator. She now works at Blandford Nature Center as an Environmental Education Consultant – growing more opportunities to take student learning outside!
The owl pellet investigation was inspired by the following resource:
Growing up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children. Houston, TX: Council for Environmental Education, 2009. Print.