WEEK 4 at Woodson: Owl Pellet Adventures and Thanksgiving Traditions

By Tolu

This week at Woodson, the girls revealed how much they knew about owl pellets and their own Thanksgiving traditions. Owls have no teeth but break up their prey whole using their sharp beaks. Since they cannot digest bone and fur, they regurgitate pellets. Scientists and Sisters4Science girls alike can dissect these pellets to learn more about what these owls ate. This week we had Ashanta and biological sisters, Brianna and Desiree for the lesson (from left to right).

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            Dissecting owl pellets was nothing new for these girls so although a little grossed out at first, they handled themselves with poise and professionalism! Ashanta found two different skulls in her owl pellet so deciding on the type of animal eaten was a bit tricky. It was great fun to observe how the girls went about dissection. Ashanta made use of both her tooth picks and took her time dissecting. She also told us about her families Thanksgiving tradition of eating tamales. They are one of her favorite foods.

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Brianna is such a character and thoroughly funny. She zipped through her dissection and even decided to give her bones to her Sisters4Science Facillitator, Tolu. She made sure to  soften her pellet using a little bit of cold water.

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Desiree on the other hand, was incredibly meticulous in her dissection. She found no skulls in her pellet. The other girls joked that maybe the owls all shared a meal, and Ashanta’s owl ate part of Desiree’s owl’s dinner. Desiree and Brianna both shared about the Puerto Rican food they have on Thanksgiving as well.

 

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At the end of the day, the girls used their critical thinking skills and diagrams of rodent skeletons to guess the type of rodents in their owl pellets. Ashanta found a vole skull, and Desiree used her magnify glass to take a look at her rodent bones.  Brianna learned that she, a 7th grader, could actually tell the difference between rodents! All in all, it was a day of discovery.

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