Last weekend was full of work for me, so Simon and the children headed to Devon to enjoy some sun, sea and sand. They returned on Sunday evening with buckets of dead jelly fish, which they had found washed up on the beach along with hundreds more. Apparently they were to be the children's first dissection project.
As it turned out, the children had collected two different jelly fish species: the Moon Jelly and the Blue Jelly. Sadly the Moon Jelly had decomposed to practically nothing, (a jelly fish is made up of over 90% water) but luckily we were back at Devon on Thursday and Friday and were able to collect another Moon Jelly sample, which was in much better nick. I have included the pictures of it here as it is the same topic.
So, having prepared what resembled something of a lesson plan on Monday night, I sat down with the children come Tuesday morning and talked about what we would be doing. I would love to say it was a dissection carried out with precision science but alas, Jenson practically butchered the thing. After getting out my scalpel knife I quickly realised a pair of kitchen scissors would more than suffice.
I managed to talk through the fact sheets I had printed out. One explains the life cycle of a jelly fish as set out below and the other is a diagram of a jelly fish and all its parts.
From my research I learned that most jelly fish have a very similar anatomy. It was quite a fascinating subject to read up on, I must say. The circumference of the jelly is called the margin, which is where the tentacles are found. These filter prey through to the arms, (which often get mistaken for tentacles) which direct the food to the mouth in the centre. The mouth draws the food up to the stomach, which leads to four gastric pouches called the gonads. These can clearly be seen in the picture of the Moon Jelly below.
We got a section of the Blue Jelly under the microscope, which was fascinating for Jenson and Wren to see.
My brother took the children out for the afternoon so I could catch up on some work. He returned with one very happy looking Jenson, who was clutching a brand new LEGO box!! The rest of the afternoon, as they say, was history!