Calling All Owls – Background

Many of us have stories of owls flying across the road in front of our cars, calling eerily outside our windows, or quietly staring at us from a tree on a misty gray day. We recall these encounters vividly, for owls are such fascinating and mysterious creatures. As nighttime hunters, owls have incredibly specialized eyes, ears, feathers, feet, and digestion, all of which contribute to their superior predatory ability. Their calls are unique too, and, though strange and foreign to our ears, they are an important adaptation for owls to communicate with each other. Continue reading Calling All Owls – Background

Calling All Owls – Activities

FOCUS: Owls are birds of prey with many special adaptations related to their lives as nighttime hunters. With soft wings, huge eyes, and superb hearing, they can detect the slightest sound or movement and swoop down silently on their unsuspecting prey. Owl pellets tell us about their food preferences, and their calls, an adaptation for communicating with others of their kind, tell us which owls are living in our area.

Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about owls.

Play a recording of a barred owl or great horned owl call. Ask children what they think about when they hear the sound. Then show a photo of the owl and ask for observations or questions.

Materialsaudio recording and photo of either a barred owl or great horned owl.

Objective: To meet some different owls and learn to recognize their calls.

Show pictures of owls known to live in the local area. Ask children to point out differences in their appearance such as size, eye color, patterning, and whether they have ear tufts or not. Now play recordings of each owl. Have the children think of words or phrases to imitate each call and help to remember it. Continue reading Calling All Owls – Activities

Calling All Owls – Puppet Show

The Bedtime Story


Characters: Father mouse, young mouse, Great Horned Owl

Mouse  Daddy, will you tell me a bedtime story?

Father Mouse  Okay, how about a story about an owl?

Mouse  Oooh, a scary story. I like scary stories.

Father Mouse  Once upon a time there was a little mouse, and in the woods nearby there lived a great horned owl. The owl slept all day long, but as soon as it got dark out, it would wake up and sing out into the darkness…(Father exits, owl enters) Continue reading Calling All Owls – Puppet Show

Calling All Owls – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Calling All Owls – Standards