Your Learning Connection | Vol. 7
What’s spiny, slow, and loves to eat seaweed? The sea urchin! The sea urchin belongs to a family of animals called echinoderms. The Atlantic Purple Sea Urchin is one local example of these special animals. They can be scary looking and some species even have toxic spines, but they play an important role in controlling algal growth. “How?” you might ask — by eating it! Check out this Atlantic Purple Sea Urchin video to see this creature in action.
Do you know what creatures like to eat urchin? Sea otters, hermit crabs, many fish, and even people can be sea urchin’s predators! These spiny animals make their homes along the rocky shore and throughout many parts of the one world ocean. For more information on these animals with no blood, no brains and no bones, check out Sea Urchin Facts. Then, try out this sea urchin Jigsaw Puzzle that features the green sea urchin, the species that we see along the New Hampshire coast.
Flower Sequence Sketch
Ready to pull out your nature journal again? Scientists use their nature journals to record detailed observations of the world around them. The spring season reminds us that nature is always evolving, growing and changing, but by recording what we see, we can take a snapshot of a moment in time.
Take a closer look at the flowering plants in your backyard. Do they all look the same? Are they all in the same stage of their flowering life? Try out this Flower Sequence Sketch activity to test out your keen eye, and observe like a scientist! Create simple drawings, or, if you are feeling inspired, create a whole flower art exhibition! Some of the most famous pieces of artwork throughout history featured flowers, as they represent new life. Learn more about flowers in art history at My Modern Met’s website.
Bonus: Our resident box turtle, Raspberry, loves spring as well – dandelion greens are some of his favorite vegetables. One of our members created a coloring sheet of everyone’s favorite box turtle.Take a look at this awesome Raspberry Coloring Sheet!
Birding is a way to connect with the environment right outside your doors and hone your powers of observation. A good pair of binoculars can help, but really all you need is patience and a habitat – such as your backyard – to observe. Keen eyes and ears are a plus when observing birds! Join Seacoast Science Center’s Daryn Clevesy for birding fun in this Bird Watching Video:
With about 18,000 species of birds, it can be hard to tell who is who! Bird Silhouettes can help you identify the bird you are looking at and the Merlin Bird ID app can help identify a bird either from a photo or through a series of questions.
Eat Like a Whale
Isn’t it incredible that some of the largest animals on our planet can survive by eating some of the very smallest organisms? Whales, dolphins, and porpoises all belong to a group of animals known as cetaceans. Cetaceans catch and eat their food in different ways using both physical and behavioral adaptations. We can investigate whale feeding strategies in our own home with just a few simple tools.
Join Geneva Mommsen, Education & Volunteer Coordinator from the National Marine Life Center*, as she uses items like a hair comb, paintbrush, grill tongs, and oregano to show us how baleen works like a filter in Aquatic Adventures: Eat Like a Whale. Then, check out Eat Like a Whale to investigate for yourself and decide which tools work best. Which tools are most like the teeth of a sperm whale? How about the baleen of a humpback whale?