Flip that learning! Giving the students a chance to develop prior knowledge for the lab was really important. So, I gave them a homework assignment that would get them ready. They were given the week to watch a 2 minute video that described the procedure for dissecting owl pellets.
I loaded the video from KidWings Website to our Edmodo site for students to view.
While watching, they were asked to write the steps of the lab, 2-3 safety concerns, and 2-3 ways they could share their results after the lab. They also had the data recording sheet ahead of time to get prepared for the big day!
Out of 100 students, 2 were not prepared for the lab. How's that for homework completion! Given an assignment that they were genuinely interested in, I was able to get a GREAT percentage of students to complete their work, and they were READY to learn with me on Friday!
And...did we ever learn!
Students were so ready to go! As they entered, they rolled up their sleeves and jumped right into the lab. I didn't have to waste time with directions or explanations. With a quick review of safety concerns and a quick overview of where materials were located, we were into the lab.
While working with the students, I was able to dip into the BEST conversations! They were comparing the pellet bones to many other animals (including themselves). They were sorting, classifying, and TALKING science all period. No disruptions, no arguments, no short cuts! Just great questions, great discussions, and solid science work.
Some of my favorite conversations were related to:
*soft tissue vs. bone and fur
*how the ball and socket worked together
*how the bones around the eye were SO big that must mean large eyes...which must mean night time animals
*how hands on was the MOST fun
*comparing this dissection to the fish dissection at Stone Lab
*energy transfer from the food to the owl
Setting my students up to succeed was as simple as front loading the content with a short, descriptive video. We didn't waste time...we were ready to learn!
***FYI- some kids still misunderstood...some thought I killed the owls to get the pellets!