In one of my schools fourth graders are working with a local Audubon club to explore birds (as part of their Organisms and their Environment unit). This week they are working on dissecting owl pellets.
I put together this short (6 minute) video about owl pellets for the children to watch prior to the activity so they would have some frame of reference going into it. Basically I found several YouTube videos and downloaded them. I put them together using Windows Movie Maker Live into one longer video for the kids.
In conjunction with watching the video students will also work on a virtual owl pellet dissection on this site - http://www.kidwings.com/owlpellets/flash/v4/index.htm. This will all take place the day before the actual owl pellet activity.
I am curious to see how the video and virtual experience will compare to the actual owl pellet dissection (having never done it myself!). I'm going to ask students to compare the two and tell me if they felt that the pre-activities helped them with the actual activity.
The teachers I am working with are looking forward to this activity because it helps incorporate the use of technology into their lesson, we get to "teach" the lesson jointly (so no lesson planning on their part :), and all children will be engaged (at least for one hour in the computer lab :)
The fact that I have never done an owl dissection lab with my students got me thinking this would make a great grant write up. Owl dissection kits can be ordered from Carolina Biological at this site - Owl Pellet Kit.