Sunday, May 15, 2011

At the Tank--Sea-to-See Job Notes

This is part two of a two part series cataloging a portion of what I did with my job at FSU's Sea-to-See which is a program that travels to local elementary schools giving a marine biology presentation replete with touch tanks, interactive activities and video.  Keep in mind it is for kids as young as second grade (it's pretty darn basic stuff and I write it down here mostly to keep for future reference if I ever do something similar again.).  :)  At that age the biggest thing is just to get the kids touching stuff and making observations.

  • Sea Urchins
    • Hold in hand
      • Feel movement of spines and tube feet
      • What are spines for? (Defense)
      • Why do you think urchins put shells etc. on top of them?
        • Some interesting research has shown that it could be for UV protection--much like applying sun tan lotion
        • Other possibilities?   
          • Camouflage
      • Pedicellaria--tiny pinchers to clean bod with.

      • Turn over
        • Find mouth
          • Count how many parts its beak has
          • Notice pentaradial symmetry 
            • Can you find anything else in the tank with five of something?  What do you think that might mean about them?  (Sea star.  They're related.)
          • What do you think it might eat?  (Algae and sea grass.)
      • Where are its eyes?
        • All over!   
          • Concentrated on tips and base of suction cups
          • Ask who wants to be a sea urchin?!  Have kids close eyes, look toward a light source and wave hand above eyes.  A shadow will be cast by hands simulating what it is like to see in only shadows like echinoderms.

    • Sea Stars
      • Pick up
        • Touch top
          • How feel?
          • Sea stars often move in the direction of the arm opposite their madreporite (mother pore) (the trivium arm, as opposed to bivium arms).
        • Flip over
          • What do you think that orange stuff is?  (Tube feet)
            • Touch and watch arm "zip" them up
              • Why? (Protect the delicate tube feet.)
            • Who wants to "be" a sea star with me? (Kids raise hands.)
              • We move by contracting muscle on bones, but the sea star has a very different way of moving--kind of like the exact opposite way!!  Instead of contracting muscles he inflates his arms!!! (Water vascular system)
              • Have kids lift arms above head and retract them all the while making sucking noises (to fill up arms as they extend) and farting/deflating noises (upon contraction)
            • Guess how they breathe--through their feet!  Can you imagine if you breathed through your feet!!?  Wouldn't that stink, literally!!!
            •  They also taste with their feet!!  Imagine tasting your shoes right now!  Or the floor!

            • Can anyone find mouth? (At center of arms.)
              • How might a scientist test to make sure that really was the mouth? (Put some food there and see if it gets eaten.)
              • Discuss how sea star eats by extruding mouth outside of body
                • Can you imagine eating that way!?  Imagine your lunch table if you were all sea stars and there where slimy stomachs all over the place!

      • Sea Cucumbers
        • Pick up sea cucumber
          • How do we know it's not dead? (Since it totally looks that way!)
            • Kids will eventually say if it moves
          • How many sides does it have?  (Five)
            • What else in the tank has that and what do you think it means?  (Related to the other pentaradials)
          • How do you think it defends itself?
            • No spines, no shell, no pinchers, super slow.  How do you think he protects himself??!
            • Who here likes scary movies?  (Kids love to act tough and say they do.)
            • What you'd do if you were a sea cucumber and you got scared is you'd barf up your guts!!!  Can you imagine if everyone in a movie theater was a sea cucumber and they all got scared and there were guts flying everywhere!!!?!?
            • Why do you think they do that?
              • Maybe because predator loves guts, eats them and gets full--sea cucumber gets away scot-free
              • Or, maybe the guts taste/smell really awful and the predator gets the heck out of there!

            • Pearl Fish
              • There is a whole species of fish that lives no where else but in the butts of sea cucumbers!!
                • Can you imagine living your entire life in a butt!!?!?!

            • Hermit Crabs
              • See if you can find its two kinds of antennae
                • Two long for feeling
                • Two short that he flicks through the water to smell
                • Who makes a shell a hermit crab or a snail? (Snail.)

          Antenna 1 (antennule) is used for smelling.  Other electron microscope pic here.

              • Snails
                • How do they crawl?
                  • Cilia
                    • Tiny hairs that tickle the ground
                    • Did you know that you have the same thing inside your body!!!?!?!  Guess where?!?!?!   In your lungs and trachea!!! 
                • Where's the oldest part on the shell?
                  • Tip of spire is actually baby shell
                  • Every day they add a little bit more to shell opening's edge and spiral around

            Images from here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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