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Swimming Creatures Lesson 12: Cnidarians

6/03/2009
In this lesson, we learned about boneless, brainless, eyeless, headless, and footless creatures called cnidarians. These nettle like creatures include jellyfish, sea anemones and corals.
These creatures are mostly a mouth and tentacles and are in the form of a polyp (waving tentacles) or a medusa (hanging tentacles).
We learned about how nematocysts work, and what the difference is between a polyp and a medusa, jellyfish, jellylike cnidarians, why jellyfish are considered plankton, what is special about the box jelly, how sea anemones and coral differ from jellyfish and how corals differ from sea anemones, where corals grow and why, how corals are dependent on algae and what the difference is between stony coral and soft coral.
Notebooking activities consisted of writing down what we learned about jellyfish, sea anemones, and corals with an illustration of each. We also drew a map of where the Great Barrier Reef is located. Here are some of the illustrations:
We made polyp play dough sea anemones for fun.
Our experiment this lesson was to create a deep sea current so we can see what carries deep water plankton around.
We melted a popsicle in very hot water and then watched the current made by the melting popsicle move through the water. Deep water currents are caused by temperature differences between the colder deep water and the warmer surface water. Of course, this was a good excuse to buy a box of frozen fruit bars. :-)
Delightful Links:
How Long Does it Take a Coral Reef to Grow? Evidence that the great reef could have formed since the time of Abraham!

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