Museum of Science, Boston

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Activity of the Month

Owl Pellet Dissection

Dissections are a great way for children to learn and practice their observation and classification skills, all while learning about animals that are quite different from themselves! During an Owl Pellet Dissection, children learn about how and what owls eat, as well as how a pellet is formed in an owl’s unique digestive system.

Children act as 'field biologists' as they dissect, analyze and identify the remains of various small animals found in the pellets. Even the youngest children can practice skills of observation and classification while using age-appropriate tools (including tweezers, picks, magnifying lenses and microscopes) to dissect an owl pellet.

While dissecting an owl pellet, children are encouraged to make observations about what they find, while sorting the bones and other materials found in the pellet. Children can then use a bone identification chart to try and identify the bones and other materials they find in order to discover what the owls ate - this will likely be their first lesson in comparative anatomy.