By BRIAN FERRY
Some school assignments are better than others.
Photo submitted for publication
Sheffield Area Middle High School sixth-grader Preston Curtis weighs an owl pellet during an interdisciplinay unit on the Carl Hiaasen novel “Hoot”. Students examined the pellets to determine what their owls had been eating.
Once in a while, students might even find one that they would say is a 'hoot'.
On May 29 and 30, sixth-graders at Sheffield Area Middle High School worked on a cross-curricular unit. The subject was a novel - "Hoot" by Carl Hiaasen.
The students read the book and later saw the movie.
"Most students preferred the novel over the movie," Principal Amy Beers said.
They created Venn diagrams to compare and contrast the movie and the book. In overlapping circles, students had to put features unique to the book only in one circle, features unique to the movie only in the other circle, and shared features in the overlapping area of the circles.
One of the language arts activities associated with the unit was writing a newspaper article about the book.On the second day, students moved into the math and science aspects of the unit.
"Each student was given an owl pellet to weigh and measure," Beers said. "Students then had to dissect their owl pellets."
Based on the dissections, students had to categorize, count and graph the different types of bones they discovered.
"Students found feathers, fur, skulls, teeth, and many other kinds of bones during their probing," Beers said.
From the contents of the pellets, students determined what the owls had been eating.
"This project is interdisciplinary, cross-curricular teaching at it's best," Beers said. "It highlights reading, writing, math and science and utilizes the entire middle level teaching team working together to enhance student learning."
"It shows the interdependence of and interrelatedness of class subjects, and although we might focus on them in isolation for a class period, the information is applicable to other subjects," she said. "The 6th grade middle level teachers put together a fantastic learning experience to culminate the school-year!"
Asked about the two-day event, Fair Smith said, "It was amazing."