Owls and thier Big Eyes and Cool Necks

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Students learn about owls and how their big eyes help them by experimenting with tubes and not being able to move their own eyes to look around.

Big Idea

Student learn about different types of owls and how their eyes help them to see at night.


20 minutes

I ask students to sit on the floor in front of the Smart Board to learn about another nocturnal animal. 

On the wall next to the Smart Board is an anchor chart with a picture of an owl drawn on it.

 I tell students that we will be watching a very short video about owls and that I want them to listen very carefully for information about owls that we can add to our anchor chart.  I remind them that when we are listening for information, they should pay close attention to things like:

What things do owls have?

What things do owls do?

What do owls look like?

How do owls act?

I also remind the students that when we are watching a video for learning that we should be a good listener. I refer them to our “Good Listener” chart that is hanging on the wall to remind them of what a good listener should look like.

 After watching the video, I ask students to turn to their shoulder partner and agree on one thing that they will share with the class about owls to add to the anchor chart.  I give them a few minutes to talk to their shoulder partner.  When I see that the students are ready, I call their attention back and I begin asking the couples to stand and share their owl fact.  As they report out, I record the information on the anchor chart. (see picture of chart here)

Guided Practice - Simulation

15 minutes

When each couple has shared, I ask students to quietly get up and go to their seats.  At each seat, each student has an empty toilet paper tube. 

I pose the question, “What did you learn about the eyes of an owl while watching the video?”

Most likely, this information was shared earlier and added to our anchor chart.  I am now bringing it up so that the students will think more in depth about why an owls eyes are they way they are.  Also, the information given in the video is often not understood by a kindergartener, so I’m using this opportunity to clarify what the video says about owls having binocular vision.

 I guide the students through a few different situations to show them how an owls eyes work. 

 First, I ask them to cover one eye with their hand.  Then with the other hand they will hold their pencil out in front of them.  They are not allowed to move their eye.  The eye needs to look forward.  I explain that owls cannot move their eyes.  An owls’ eye is looking forward at all times.  I tell the students to move the pencil to the side until they cannot see it anymore.  Then I will have them look to see how far to the side they had th pencil. 

Then, I will repeat this very same exercise only with one eye covered and the tube in front of the other eye.  The students will see that they do not have to move the pencil very far before they cannot see it anymore.  This is how an owl sees.  I then go on to explain to the students that this is why an owl can move its head so far around. 


5 minutes

To conclude, I tell the class that there are many live stream videos that we can watch on the Internet of owls and owl boxes.  I pull one of them up on the Smart Board to show students some live owls.

I leave this video up throughout the rest of the day so that we can observe them and see what they are doing for a day.

Throughout the rest of the school year, we will check in on the owls from time to time just to see what they are up to. 

Students love to check in on "their" owls.  They end up having a sense of ownership about them and they love observing them often.