Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: The Life Cycle of an Owl


In the book series Learning About Life Cycles, The Life Cycle of an Owl written by Ruth Thomson explains the entire life cycle of a barn owl.  The book has real life pictures and is does an amazing job of portraying life in the wild for the barn owl.  The book starts out with the places owls live and what they eat.  Characteristics of an owl is described by stating that

“It has very good eyesight and hearing.  It flies silently and pounces on animals with its feet.  It usually swallows them whole.”

Since this book is only about barn owls all of the physical features are described.  The book starts the life cycle with “finding a mate”.  This is usually done durning the spring season; males and females can often be seen flying together while making a loud screeching sound.  The book shows and explains how the mother owl lays eggs and cares for her owlets.  The father keeps both the mother and the owlets alive with providing food. The book lists the different stages the owlets go through until adulthood.  Pictures are provided with each stage.  The author ends the book with displaying the owl life cycle that was described throughout the book for a better visual understanding.

Curriculum Connections:

This would be a great book for teachers teaching about animal life cycles and habitats (SOL 2.4a & 2.5b).  The book explains the life cycle of an owlet as it grows and matures into an owl at the elementary age school level. The book has outstanding pictures that are detailed and not graphic for young children.  The book explains the habitat surroundings needed for the barn owl. 

Additional Resources:

Exploring the Southwest Desert USA has a great web-site for anyone that would like to learn about the barn owl.  The range, habitat, description, habits and the owl’s life cycle are all explained in this web-site.  This could be used as an additional resource for a teacher that is teaching a lesson plan on the barn owl. 

Teachers can handout a coloring page for students to color as they learn about the barn owl.  Students have room to draw the owl’s habitat.  The students can also list some of the facts that they learned about the barn owl around their artwork. 

Teachers and students can watch a real barn owl live on the internet! Teachers will need to click on the link to watch Molly the barn owl in the classroom.  This is a free web-site.

Eastside Audubon has listed a lesson plan for teachers who will be teaching about owls.  The lesson plan is geared for students grades 3-6 (adaptions can be made for younger students). *Registration is required to enter the site.*

Book: The Life Cycle of an Owl
Author: Ruth Thomson
Illustrator: N/A
Publisher: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 24
Grade Range: 2-5
ISBN: 1-4358-2833-9

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