What have the Owls Been Eating?

Fourth-grader Devon, proudly shows off a rat skull he found in his owl pellet.
Fourth-grader Devon, proudly shows off a rat skull he found in his owl pellet.
You never know what you're going to find in an owl pellet.
You never know what you're going to find in an owl pellet.
Each student worked in teams, separating the pellets and organizing what they found on paper trays.
Each student worked in teams, separating the pellets and organizing what they found on paper trays.
Using a glove on one hand, this young student is concentrating on her findings, while her teammate organizes everything for proper identification.
Using a glove on one hand, this young student is concentrating on her findings, while her teammate organizes everything for proper identification.

During the week of June 8, all Maplewood and Birchwood 4th grade students participated in a year-end combined ELA and STEM performance activity.  Using sharp probes, pairs of students broke open owl pellets (a small package of bones and hair regurgitated by owls after they eat) to uncover the bones of animals eaten by the owls. Then, using a dichotomous or (“two answer”) key, they identified those animals.  What did the students discover?  The tiny pellets contained an amazing number of mouse and vole bones, and some even contained the skulls of rats!