Lesson Plan

What does an owl eat?

A lesson about what owls eat by dissecting owl pellets.

Students will be able to...

I can follow a set of written instructions for a scientific investigation.

I can identify bones found in owl pellets.

I can infer and interpret what an owl eats.

I can discuss how an owl hunts, digests, and regurgitates its food.

ISTE Standards: 

Knowledge Constructor

3a Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.

3c Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.

3d Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.

English Language Arts
Grades 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes


I’m going to show a foil-wrapped owl pellet to the class.  I am going to ask them questions about what they think is inside.

Next, I will show them the owl pellet song video twice to get them excited about what they will be doing with their partners.  We will sing and dance along.  After the video, I will ask them more questions about what they learned from the video about an owl’s behaviors and habits.


I will pair up the students (if there are an odd number of students, I will put 3 in one group).  Each pair gets an owl pellet to dissect.  I will tell them to start carefully unwrapping their pellet on the construction paper.  Using their fingers and toothpick, they need to separate the bones from the fur and other material in the pellet.  They need to hold onto the bones so that they can construct skeleton at the end.  I will pass around a Bone Sorting Chart so the students can compare the bones to the chart to help them identify the bone types.  I will ask the students to form a complete skeleton of one of the animals that they found.  They will then glue it to the construction paper.

To ensure the students understand the instruction, I will call on different groups to list out the instructions aloud in order. I will also write the instructions on the board.

At the very end of this exploration, students will need to wash their hands with soap and water after handling the pellets.


Activity: Other — Presenting & Note Taking

I will ask the students to present their findings to the class.  Each pair of students will come up and tell the class which animal or animals the owl ate.

After every group presents, I will discuss how owls feed on small mammals such as mice, shrews, and moles.  Owls usually swallow their prey whole and then digest the soft tissue.  The indigestible parts such as hair and bones are regurgitated as owl pellets.

Then, I’m going to pass out the “Owls” article to each student.  We are going to read it together and I am going to ask them questions as we go.  Their job is to highlight the main ideas of the article and write notes in the margins as we discuss the article.  They will also have a Key Vocabulary Terms Sheet to fill in as we discuss the article.


Free, Paid

I am going to have the students create a Storybird story (1 per group) about their owl’s night (6-10 pages).  They need to write a story (from the owl’s point of view) about what the owl did to find its prey, what kind of prey it was (should be the one that they glued to the paper), and how the prey turned into a pellet. They also need to incorporate all of the vocabulary in their slideshow as well as images from Google search.  A picture of their prey’s skeleton needs to be uploaded into the story and they need to point out and label the various bones that they found.


Activity: Other — Presenting

I will have the students present their Storybird stories to the class.

I will ask them questions such as:

Who is the predator in your story?

Who is the prey in your story?

Why do you think the owl chose that animal?

How was your owl feeling before and after the hunt?

Is your owl nocturnal or diurnal? Why?

What are the parts of the prey did you find in the pellet? What parts of the prey are not in the pellet?

What special adaptations did your owl use to catch his prey?