September 29, 2017

MASON – Science lessons literally came alive for students at Mars Hill Academy when birds of prey visited.

RAPTOR, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey, brought two feathered friends to school recently in order for third grade students to learn about the creatures, adaptations and habitat.

A sharp beak, even sharper talons, and strong wings aren't always enough to protect Ohio's birds of prey – that was one of the first lessons learned.

Each of the birds in the RAPTOR program came to the organization with some sort of injury. If it is able, the group rehabilitates the bird to be released back into the wild. However, if the bird's injuries are such that it could not survive on its own, the group uses the bird as part of their educational program to teach the public more about these majestic animals.

Students at MHA learned about the owls: a Great Horned Owl named Ollie, who has neurological deficits, and a Barred Owl named Spencer, who has impaired vision and hearing.  

Elementary science teacher Dr. Laura Lucas organized the visit to the school. She said hands-on and visual activities help provide students with a deeper understanding of their science lessons and help them make connections between the text and the world around them.

After the owl presentation, students dissected owl pellets to learn about the eating habits of birds of prey.

Pellets are the regurgitated remains of an owl's meal, including all the bones of the animals it ate. Owls usually swallow their food whole, digest the edible parts and then expel the indigestible parts through their mouth as a pellet.

"The students were amazed to see the owls up close and were fascinated to discover what was inside the pellets they dissected,” Lucas said.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. Visit to "Discover the Difference" of a Mars Hill Academy education. Like us on Facebook and see our students in action on YouTube.