Hello Friends! We just finished a really fun week of learning all about owls. My students this year are very intrigued by birds. If you remember, we spent three weeks learning about birds earlier in the year and this week, my students requested that we circle back to owls. I was more than happy to follow their interests to this really fun topic.
To get ready, I took out all my owl specific books and borrowed a few from our local library. I also printed out the readers, nomenclature cards, and activities from my newly updated owl pack. (available here) I also put up owl “posters” with QR codes around my classroom.
(These are available in my owl pack.)
My students loved going from poster learning about the adaptations that make owls so awesome!
Last year and this year, I changed my teaching strategy a bit. I have been using more PBL (problem based learning)/inquiry based instruction strategies and am loving the learning that is occurring in my classroom. Some key components of problem based learning are:
- Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills – The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, and self-management.
- Challenging Problem or Question – The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
- Sustained Inquiry – Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.
- Authenticity – The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.
- Student Voice & Choice – Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
- Reflection – Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.
- Critique & Revision – Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.
- Public Product – Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.
For this owl unit, my students were super interested in finding out how BIG owls were and that was the “problem or question” that we focused on throughout the week. I created a variety of activities to help my students figure out how large they were! We found out that the elf owl was only 5 inches tall and that the biggest owl was the great grey owl. (Which my students have been calling the great GREAT owl. )
Instead of me just telling my students how big they were, I projected owls onto my board and had students help me trace them. (I made sure they were the correct heights.) Then, we measured them!
We found out the the wingspan of the great grey (great) owl, was 60 inches long! My kindergarteners were shocked to find out that none of them were taller than the wingspan! After we measured the owls with unifx cubes and measuring tape, my students wanted to create posters to hang up to show other people what they had learned. They got to work researching what their owl looked like, and colored them in carefully.
We used books, iPads, Youtube videos, and webpages to help us color them in accurately.
They were SUPER proud of their hard work!!
My students also were intrigued by owl adaptations. In the beginning of the week, they were asking about their talons, their eyes, and wondered where their ears were. Therefore, I showed my students a few videos to help them learn more about owl features. My students were BLOWN AWAY by this video:
They learned that owls could hunt silently because of their feathers.
We then learned that they were excellent hunters because of their hearing.
To show what they learned, they covered our great grey owl with real bird feathers.
He is currently hanging in our classroom and my students love talking about him and his adaptations. They are working on writing a caption to go underneath him so that others can learn about him, too!
Through using hands-on activities, my students have learned so much about owls. They are writing books about owls and are reading books about owls. They can’t get enough of them! I am so impressed at the work that they are creating and the level of engagement throughout the activities. Next week, we will dissect owl pellets!
I hope all is well! Stay tuned for some fun November STEM activities and a recap of our human body unit!