Our classroom lessons about sea life were greatly enhanced by the field trip to the aquarium. The touch tank gave everyone a chance to learn more about living horseshoe crabs, sea snails, lobsters, hermit crabs, sea urchins, and true crabs. The students were excited to touch these unfamiliar, odd-looking creatures. This hands-on experience allowed them to understand much better that these sea animals are neither scary nor harmful and to appreciate that the animal world consists of much more than mammals and birds. Both the penguin feeding and the sea lion show were captivating, and the aquarium employees gave us lots of information while they were going on. The kids were very well behaved, knowledgeable, and seemed to really enjoy every bit of the experience.
Sharks are ancient, boneless fish with acute senses to target their prey. We emphasized that sharks are magnificent animals, and despite their reputation, they have no interest in attacking humans. The students saw and handled a real shark jaw with very sharp rows of teeth and prehistoric shark teeth. The children made their own shark puzzles by cutting up and reassembling a shark picture.
The great variety of interesting shells left behind by mollusks serve as a useful intro-duction to these animals. The children learned that many seashells can be classified either as sea snails or as bivalves. A fascinating feature of larger sea snails is the oddly shaped egg cases they lay with a multitude of tiny snails developing inside. The students were given the opportunity to investigate hundreds of different shells for themselves, including conch, turkey wings, whelks, barnacle-covered tulips shells, and horseshoe crabs, as well as egg cases, coral, starfish, and sea urchins.
We also studied those spineless jellyfish that sting their prey as well as unsuspecting swimmers. All the students made colorful jellyfish with tentacles which will soon be swimming from the classroom ceiling with the fish and sea stars.
When we learn about whales and dolphins today, we will discover that, unlike other sea creatures, they are mammals which breathe air. In stark contrast to sharks, whales and dolphins care for their young and keep them nearby to nurse and protect; whereas sharks have no maternal impulses whatsoever. We will discuss an important distinction between types of whales: those with biting teeth and those with filtering baleen.
4+ mothers: You are invited to a Mothers’ Brunch on Friday, May 12 at 10:00. Please mark your calendars for this special event.
• April 8-17: Spring break No school Class resumes Tuesday, April 18
• Show and tell April 18-21: kids’ choice (Please note: we will be studying dinosaurs that week)
• Fri., May 12: 4+ Mothers’ Brunch
10:00-11:00 in our classroom