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Once a week, I teach the lab section of Apologia Biology to a group of high school homeschoolers. We review the chapter and I answer questions, as well as help the students with their experiments. Last week, we started studying invertebrates.
The hydra is a great first invertebrate specimen to study under the microscope. It’s unique structure is easy to pick out. The students found their hydra on a prepared slide and then sketched them in their lab books. Sketching what is observed is a very important part of any study. Students are more aware when they are having to draw what they are seeing.
Not sure what type of microscope to get ? Here are my tips for choosing a homeschool science microscope.
I’m not sure how we studied anything before the internet. We found some great online resources to help us better understand and appreciate invertebrates.
- a video on budding in hydrae
- electron micrograph images of sponges
- Jellyfish Lake in Palau where the jellyfish have no sting and people snorkel among them
- Lots of invertebrate photos, videos and information from Arkive.org
- Comb jellies
- Jellyfish early reader
- Jellies: The Life Of Jellyfish
- Field Guide to Freshwater Invertebrates of North America
And then, we got crafty. I think I got this idea from a list of party crafts for young children, but I thought it would be something fun and different for the older students. Even though this seemed to be more craft than science, it allowed the students to construct a jellyfish of their own. They had to think about the 3 main visible parts of a jellyfish and then represent them with the materials given.
The students used styrofoam bowls for the bell of the jellyfish. Crepe streamers made great thick feeder arms. The tentacles and their nematocysts were made with ribbon and decorative wire with pom-poms.
As you can see, our scientists/artists took some creative liberties with the colors and some even put smiley faces even though they know that the jellyfish feed from underneath their bells.
Sometimes you have to stop and have a little fun with science, even with older students. It was fun hearing them talk about their ideas about how to best represent tentacles and feeder arms. Even though they were doing a craft, they were using it to understand the structure of the jellyfish. Mission accomplished!
Do you have a favorite creative science activity?