Swimming Creatures Lesson 10: Cephalopods

5/13/2009
This week, we have been learning about the four different kinds of "head-footed" animals, the octopus, the squid, the nautilus, and the cuttlefish, which are all cephalopods. We learned how they swim (by jet propulsion), what they eat, what kinds of mouths they have (beaks), the kinds of defenses they have (camouflage, ink and excellent eyesight), what a cuttle bone is, how many arms (not legs) cuttlefish and squid have (10), and how many arms an octopus has (8 of course), and why scientists think an octopus is intelligent (large brains and good problem solving skills - it will actually "play"). We also learned how a nautilus moves in the water (releasing and taking in gas/water to rise and lower itself), and what a chiton is (a sea creature that resembles a roly poly bug).
We learned that an octopus does not have a blind spot like we do and did a Try This! Experiment to learn about our blind spot.
We tested to see where our blind spot is by holding the book up, covering our right eye, focusing on the + sign with our left eye, then moving the book closer until the dot disappeared, then reappeared a little closer. When the dot disappeared, it was right on our blind spot. Octopuses do not have one, which is one reason they have excellent eyesight.
We made notebooking pages for each of the five animals we studied in this lesson, illustrating them and writing down the interesting things we learned.
Here are a few of the pages:
Then, we filled out our scientific speculation sheets and set up for an experiment to create our own little cephalopod and learn about buoyancy, but our medicine dropper would not fit inside the bottle top, so we will have to do that one another day.
We all decided that we want to finish up this book by the end of May (which is 6 weeks of lessons in 2 weeks) so that we can pick up where we left of with Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day and study insects. If we lived near an ocean, Swimming Creatures would be so much cooler, but alas, we don't. So, we are looking forward to being outdoors doing some more "hands on" school catching bugs.

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