Thursday, January 21, 2010

Squids In The Bath

We had more fun with our Awesome Ocean Science book the other evening. After reading more about molluscs in The Wonderland Of Nature we decided to try an experiment to see how the cephalopod molluscs move about the ocean. Now, if you don't know what a cephalopod is, it happens to be the group of molluscs (creatures who have a shell as part of their body) who happen to either have no shell or their shell is inside out. Meaning the shell is on the inside of their body. Now, the really cool part about this is, all those cuttle bones you stick in your bird cages are really shells from the cuttlefish, and yes, even squids have shells. The boys are now desperate to see if they can find one washed ashore, which I agree would be quite interesting. The idea was to make squids and let them swim around the tub, the boys had a blast with this experiment.

First fill a balloon with water. We only filled them up to the size of an orange or grapefruit. Then you need a pop-top. You need to pull the neck of the balloon up the pop-top. This is a two person job. I let the boys pinch the balloon closed while I pulled them neck of the balloon up. Make sure the pop-top is CLOSED before the pinched releases his pinch on the balloon! You'll be quite wet otherwise.

Fill a bucket or tub with water. We filled our abnormally large tub with water. And yes, it's abnormally large. Two adults and two children can easily fit in this tub. The boys have been seen using pool floating rings in that tub before! (See the first picture for proof of said floatie..)

Place your "squid" in the tub and pull open the pop-top. Your squid should shoot around the tub while the water rushes out. Be prepared for lots of giggles and squeals of delight while the squids bob around the tub.

Retrieve your squids and do it again if you want. We decided to also see what it would be like for a moonjelly to "swim" around the ocean. We learned that jellies are at the mercy of the wind, waves, tides, etc in regards to where they travel for the most part. So, to demonstrate how that would work for a jelly we opened our pop-tops while they were still in the neck of the balloons. Blow up the balloon with air. Close the pop-top. Place the balloon in the water, and open the pop-top. For added effect swish the water and watch your jelly bob up and down on the waves as the wind blows it around. This was a great experiment to go with our Night Of The Moonjellies Book.

Be prepared to refill the balloons a LOT. I played along for an additional twenty minutes and then left the boys to it on their own. They couldn't manage to refill the balloons well with water, but had a lot of fun making tidal waves to move their jellies around the tub. They played with the squids and jellies until they were dragged, dripping wet, off to bed. Did we mention that we're really loving this book?

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