"Look everyone, I found something," exclaimed Qahir Devji '32 as he proudly held up an animal bone the size of his fingernail. After showing his fellow classmates, the excited first-grader placed his discovery on a napkin and began recording what he found on a bone identification chart.
At Lausanne, students are continuously learning about the world around them through the IB Programme curriculum implemented in the classroom.
Often, this involves exploring their community and those they share it with, like the recent science experience our first-graders did when they inquired about the Barred owl who also calls Memphis home.
With Lower School science teacher Dr. Frassinelli leading the lesson, students discovered the owl gets its name from the bar-like markings of feathers found on their chest. They also learned when an owl catches and swallows their meal, it remains in the owl's stomach for 8-12 hours before digesting everything but the bones.
"An owl later regurgitates the bones, which is known as an owl pellet," said Dr. Frassinelli. "Sometimes, these pellets are collected for research and treated with ultraviolet (UV) light to kill all the germs or living bacteria that may have been present."
As a part of the first-grade science experiment, Dr. Frassinelli passed out packages full of treated owl pellets for students to sift through and identify the bones.
"They discovered skulls of mice, jawbones, hip bones, leg bones and even a few insect parts," said Dr. Frassinelli. "We found rib bones from moles, backbones from shrews, and even tiny mice teeth. We used our charts to help distinguish all the things we found."