Recently, SeaQuaria, a local organization that brings sea life into the classroom, visited the Grade 6 classes to introduce the new critters that will live in the aquarium for the year. SeaQuaria aim to connect students with sea life so they have perspective on what lives in the ocean and perhaps ignite a passion for the environment. After the session Mrs. Hyde-Lay’s class wrote reflections on the visit to solidify their learning and you can read three of them below.
To see more pictures of the SeaQuaria visit go to the SMUS photo gallery.
On September 24 we got to see, touch and learn about really cool sea creatures that will be in our tank. The people that brought us our animals are Valerie, Blake and Chris.
The first creature that I will tell you about is the jellyfish. There are many different types of jellyfish and we have one of them. This is a non-poisonous jellyfish, so if you touch him (do not) you will not get stung. The jellyfish is in the Cnidaria section of sea creatures. Did you know that jellyfish can live forever? They will technically decompose and become a larva again and repeat that cycle until something eats them.
Also, we have a blood red sea star in our aquarium. Guess how many types of sea stars live in the world? 314 different sea stars! The one we have can be found from the coast of Alaska to California. blood red sea stars are in the Echinodermata section of sea animals. Did you know that sea stars eat by sticking their stomach through their mouths? It’s true, they suction their prey — clams — and with the suction cups on their limbs they pull the shell off and eat the insides. Yum!
In addition, we have three sea cucumbers, but the one I am telling you about is a red one. These leathery-skinned animals are quite goopy, so when you pick it up it is like a cooked piece of spaghetti. They have tiny tentacle-like feet that stick to the bottom of the tank/ocean. They also use their tentacles to get food such as plankton. How they eat is very weird. Sea cucumbers have two mouths, one at the front end and one at the back end. If a tentacle near the back has food on it then it will go there. If the tentacle is near the front end it will go there. This creature is an eco-friendly animal. It is like an underwater tree in how sea cucumbers will sift the oxygen from seawater. Aren’t they eco-friendly? Those are the animals I think are most interesting.
Last Wednesday, Valerie, Blake and Chris came to let us look at the creatures that are currently in our tank for us to study. My favourite three animals were the sea cucumber, the sea slug (Frank) and the jellyfish.
The first sea creature I am going to comment on is the sea cucumber, which is classified under the Phylum of Echinodermata. It looked like an very thick sausage with spikes. None of us were brave enough to pick it up, but when I did I found that the spikes were, if anything, very squishy. It started to droop and I was told to put it back before it stretched too much out of shape. It didn’t move that much but when it did, it was very cool.
The jellyfish was also really cool. We were not allowed to touch it because it could have stung us. However, it was still young and very small so its sting would have not hurt that much. When they put it in the tank it had to be in a box, so that the crabs would not hurt it by pinching it and the fish would not peck at it. So putting the jellyfish in a box was more for its own safety than the other animals’.
The last one I am going to comment on is the sea slug Frank the nudibranch. He sort of looked like a sea anemone/barnacle. He was very sensitive and we were not allowed to touch him because he might have gotten aggravated.
We have recently filled the large aquarium in our Science classroom with sea animals from the ocean. Valerie, Blake and Chris came in from SeaQuaria help put the animals safely in their new home. Before they put the animals in the tank they took time to let us touch them, while they explained what they were.
My favourite sea animal was the sea urchin. I liked it because it’s closely related to the starfish. Although they have sharp needle-like points, they also have tube-like feet that help them move and grab food.
I also enjoyed seeing the stickleback fish. It is special because it has three spines instead of one. I thought this type of fish was neat because of its defense mechanism. When it becomes frightened it raises its three spines so that its back becomes jagged and spiky. It uses this to ward off predators.
I thought the kelp crab was also very interesting because of its capabilities. Something that it can do is create a glue-like substance and stick small pieces of kelp all over its body. When you can see a kelp crab in the ocean, you may not be able to see it clearly at first because it looks like piece of kelp.