Science KS1/KS2: How animals have adapted to become successful predators

Michaela Strachan and a group of students explore how a barn owl has adapted to be a successful predator.

She explains several facts about how the owl has evolved and the students take part in an experiment in getting the owl's attention by making mouse noises.

Michaela explains several owl adaptations, including how it has evolved to have a curved beak to catch prey, feather adaption for silent flight, lots of extra bones in their neck which enables them to move their head around, and how their ears are adapted to enable them to pinpoint where a sound comes from.

An owl’s eyes are very large so that they can see better in the dark but this means that they cannot move their eyes from side to side.

This clip is from the series Evolutionwatch.

Teacher Notes

Students could collect some owl pellets and identify the bones within the pellet (you may need external support with this).

As a class activity, pupils could stand in a circle blindfolded. One pupil could be acting as predator (owl) and one as prey (mouse). The owl-pupil is blindfolded to mimic using their ears to hunt. The mouse-pupil squeaks until the owl catches them.

A less energetic version of this game could be to use funnels and tubes to act as ears so that the pupils can locate each other.

Pupils could examine different types of feathers.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Primary Science at KS1/KS2,1st level/2nd level particularly on the topic of animals and evolution.

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