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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Jellyfish Crafts, Exploration and Book


Recently Hazel asked to explore under the sea creatures. I think this fascination comes from watching The Octonuats on Disney Junior. I am really excited to be reviewing an Octonaut DVD and book in the next few weeks and giving away a copy of the DVD. To build up to our reviews, I thought I would do some under-the-sea creatures first. Today's creature is the jellyfish.

Photo taken on visit to New England Aquarium


We started our exploration with the book: Nature's Children: Jellyfish by James Kinchen. Jellyfish have been in the waters for millions of years before the dinosaurs. They live in seas and oceans all over the world including the Arctic waters. They have no brains and no eyes and its body is made almost entirely of water. The various types of jellyfish vary in size with the smallest being about half an inch across and the largest being six feet across. The tentacles on the large ones can be 117 feet long. Their movement comes from their body opening and closing like an umbrella. They can shift their body into different shapes to get into tight spots. The book suggests using a water balloon to see what their body is like. We did this.





Jellyfish also can sting. The stingers come from the tentacles. A sting from a sea wasp can kill a human in less than fifteen minutes. Jellyfish use their stings to capture prey and to defend themselves against enemies. The book describes each sting like a hollow harpoon that uncoils itself fifty times the original length. Poison flows down to the harpoon. Adult jellyfish are called medusas after the Greek myth.


Photo from visit to New England Aquarium

The life cycle of a jellyfish is very interesting. A female jellyfish can produce thousands of eggs. Each fertilized egg becomes a larva. The larva has no mouth and looks nothing like the adult jellyfish. The larva drifts until it grabs hold of a rock or seaweed. It rest there and changes into a polyp. Now it can hunt and eat. It has tentacles and is building up its food reserves to see it through its final metamorphism. Each polyp breaks off like a stack of dishes and becomes many medusas. 

Photo from New England Aquarium Visit
After reading this book and doing our water balloon experiment, we made some jellyfish crafts. There are many out there, but we decided to try ones with clear plastic cups with sheer ribbons and large white cupcake liners with glitter ribbons. We started with the cupcake liners. I cut lengths of the ribbons and then we taped them at the half way point to the inside bottom of the liners.


We were happy with how they came out. I liked that you could see how they would open and close to move in the water.




For the cup ones I cut long lengths of ribbon and then gave Hazel the tape. She decided to tape them singly to the inside sides of the cup. I taped the middle of mine together and taped that to the inside bottom of the cup. They both came out nicely.




Afterwards I hung them from our kitchen light. The ribbons are a bit long, but I like them. I put the long ones to the middle of the table so they wouldn't get into anyone's food.


For more on ocean life crafts and lessons check out: