Inspired by an article by The Audubon Society, we took a break from our current unit to do a fun seasonal mini-unit and learn about “spooky” owls after we finished our daily studies today (Halloween).
We started with a little tablet time and read through the awesome Audubon Society article giving some brief details about a small selection of owls. The photographs included of each were so detailed and beautiful- they were clear and focused, kind of like mugshots!- they held my kids’ attentions while I read the description. I brought out a tape measure and we measured out each owl and then compared their height to our bodies and other things in the room. I was slightly surprised that they were so interested in the height of each owl. My preschooler was fascinated to know that a Flammulated owl would fit in her hand and my kindergartener was shocked to learn the Eurasian Eagle-Owl hunted foxes! The picture atlas was opened to a world map and they pointed out where each owl lived as we read.
Next, we looked up owls in our Picturepedia (one of our favorite non-fiction references) and read a little more about owls in general.
The kids enjoyed making owl sounds, so we looked up common owl calls and found some awesome resources that had multiple owl hoots, including some from the article we had just read! We also watched a video on the Flammulated owl per request (because “they’re so cute!”) and an additional video on Great Horned Owl territorial hooting (because it was mentioned in the Audubon article). By chance, we were linked to a ScienceLive! video about Flammulated Owl conservation- short and super informative- which led to a discussion about conservation vs. hunting.
Since we already had the tablet out, we watched the Owl Babies animated read-aloud, which the kids LOVED. Afterward, we sequenced the story of Sarah, Percy and Bill and identified the beginning, middle and end of the story. Then we watched it again because it was really fun! I had been saving the “hay” from our Three Little Pigs Preschool Rascals to use as paintbrushes and threw some cotton balls on there too, for fluffy baby feathers. We cut out owl silhouettes and used some felt, foam sheets and googly eyes to create owl faces and painted some white feathers like the owl babies onto our cutouts. We identified each owl part as we went and confirmed that these owls would be daytime hunters because of their eyes using this fascinating article from The Owl Trust and then put everything together. Finally, they used the top of the paintbrush to outline feathers in the paint.
The kids then worked together to review the things owls eat and used this cut-and-paste activity from the Highland Heritage blog to create a collage of the items. They wanted to add a fox after learning about the Eurasian Eagle-Owl, so they drew one and added it to the belly.
I transcribed as the girls completed the Owls graphic organizer to review some vocabulary and facts, then my Kindergartener traced the words. They did really well with this, its the first time we’ve done one and I was impressed with how quickly they caught on to the task.