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On Thursday, January 28, 2010, Mr. Makarewich presented a program to the third graders about the snowy owl.  In science, the students have been studying the adaptations plants and animals make in order to help them survive in the Arctic tundra, so they were very excited to learn more about this particular bird.
At the beginning of the program, Mr. Makarewich had his owl partner pass out special letters to each of the children.  Their letters contained a picture of a snowy owl along with a fact, but some information was missing.  He explained that when he finished talking to them, they were going to open their letter and see if they could fill in the missing fact.

Next, Mr. Makarewich discussed how the snowy owl is similar to and different from one of our local owls, the screech owl.

He explained that the snowy owl’s eyes, unlike other birds, face forward.  This eye placement gives them binocular vision and very precise depth perception.  Two students helped to demonstrate this concept to the class.

Mr. Makarewich then modeled, using his owl partner, how the owl can turn its head 270 degrees; a special feature that helps it when hunting for prey.

Another interesting fact is that owls regurgitate rough looking cylindrical pellets after digestion.  Inside these pellets are numerous bones, fur and/or feathers, depending on what the owl has eaten.  Mr. Makarewich had several pellets in jars as well as two containers holding pellets that had been opened up so the children could actually see the contents.

The students were also treated to the vocalizations of several owls.  On his iPod, Mr. Makarewich played the calls the snowy, screech and barred owls make in the wild.

When the program was finished, the students opened their mail, read their facts, filled in the missing information and then shared their answers. Mr. Makarewich was very impressed with all that the students had learned.