Owl Pellet dissections can be a fun science activity for people of many ages. We provide these generalizations as guidelines about what children at different ages might do while exploring Owl Pellet at the Discovery Center’s Experiment Station, in the kitchen at home, or at school. Listed below are science and technology process skills that children may be practicing during their explorations. Please remember: each child develops at a different rate, so some children in each age group may be able to do some of the things described in the age group before or after their own.
After dissecting the pellet, toddlers can sort the bones, fur and other materials into piles of similar objects.
Children this age can look at the different bones and try to find bones that are similar to one another.
Toddlers may also be able to match a larger bone that they find to one of the images on an owl pellet identification chart.
However, toddlers do not yet have the ability to mentally rotate objects in three dimensions, so a grownup can help them with their matching endeavors by turning/flipping over bones, so that they are oriented the same way as the pictures on the chart.
Toddlers can touch an owl pellet and describe how it feels. After dissecting the pellet, children this age can make guesses about what they've found in their pellet (bones, fur, teeth, etc.), based on their observations.
Toddlers can be challenged to name some small animals that have fur (and which an owl might eat).
Toddlers can learn about, and practice manipulating, the different tools used in the dissection.
Young toddlers are developing the hand-eye coordination necessary to bring a magnifying lens close to an object they want to look at more closely. Many toddlers will need help from an adult or older child to use the magnifying lens properly (e.g. holding the lens close to the thing they want to look at, rather than holding it close to their eye).
Older toddlers develop a "pincher grasp". They can squeeze the ends of the tweezer between their thumb and forefinger, and - with this increased control - can practice picking up and moving bones or other material around on their trays.
In the Discovery Center, toddlers can also use one of our sturdy, toddler-safe microscopes to look more closely at their finds.