Starfish Gazing

During this week in Science class the kids have been learning about invertebrates. Think back really hard to your school days and remember what an invertebrate is. Can’t remember…well here I will help you!  Cover Starfish

Definition of an Invertebrate as found on Wikipedia:

Invertebrates are animals that neither possess nor develop a vertebral column (commonly known as a backbone or spine), derived from the notochord. This includes all animals apart from the subphylum Vertebrata. Familiar examples of invertebrates include insects; crabs, lobsters and their kin; snails, clams, octopuses and their kin; starfish, sea-urchins and their kin; jellyfish, and worms.

So, now we have that out-of-the-way! The kids were skeptical about dissecting a poor little animal. I convinced them it was in the name of science and by the time we were done they would have a clearer understanding of the animal and a new respect for it.

All too often the kids will view and animal such as the Starfish as unimportant because it is not cuddly like a cat or dog. This study helped them to see that all creatures have a purpose and are beautiful in their own way. Well…except roaches right? I think we can agree that no one likes roaches.

The neat thing about the dissection kit was that it had step by step instructions and I did not have to make up the steps as we went. There were some words that took some time to pronounce but we were all the better for trying!

On to the photos!


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The dissection tray and tools.
Bri Starfish
Bri focusing on making the right cut.
Audy Starfish
Audy cleared out the intestines.
Mav Starfish
Mav removed the skin.
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This is our project table cloth. It was on sale, kind of ugly and perfect for our projects. It has seen a lot!

I am always into making sure the kids have fun while learning. This seemed like the perfect way to get them involved in the lesson. We live very close to the beach and I try to instill in them respect for the ocean and all animals.

 

Sea Turtle Field Trip

 

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Visting NOAA Fisheries Sea Turtle Lab in Galveston Texas

This week in science class,the kids learned about the seven species of Sea Turtles. As a special treat we went on a field trip to the NOAA Fisheries Sea Turtle Research Lab in Galveston Texas to learn more.

The whole experience was great. Our tour guides were patient with all of the kids who were present and thoroughly educated them on the plight of sea turtles. After about an hour educational session we were finally able to see the turtles. I had never seen one, like, ever!! So, it was super exciting for me.

We stopped in a field where our tour guides showed the kids what a TED is. The turtle excluder device or TED is a specialized device that allows a captured Sea Turtle to escape when caught in a fisherman’s net. Each kid had to hold their breath while running through the net to escape through the device. Holding their breath helped the kids to appreciate what a Sea Turtle would have to do.

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Learning about the Turtle Excluder Device for fishing nets

 

After the demonstration we headed inside the turtle barn. There were all Loggerhead turtles in the facility but Kemp’s Ridley are the main turtles who nest and frequent the Texas Coast. Us natives know that y’all. Sorry my Texan slipped out. 😉

All in all it was worth the six month wait. It was such a beautiful day that we headed down the Sea Wall and walked the beach. The kids got to see a Moon Jellyfish and Barnacles attached to a rock. I am not a fan of barnacles but it was cool to see the kids so fascinated by them.

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Loggerhead Sea Turtle
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Loggerhead Sea Turtle
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Loggerhead Sea Turtle
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Moon Jellyfish on the Beach

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Technically, I did get to see a small sea turtle that was less than a year old. I think that qualifies as a baby and thus fulfills one activity on my Life List!

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I got to see a baby Sea Turtle. Life List checked!!

I do know that Sea Turtles are on the endangered animals list so I was not expecting to hold one today. Hopefully one day, I can have the privilege of holding one.

On the Gulf Coast we know not to touch Sea Turtles or disturb their nests. If you visit the coast and see Sea Turtle tracks or an actual turtle you can call 1-866-Turtle5 and someone will come out to assess the area.

Have you ever seen a live Sea Turtle or the nest hatchlings?