Saturday, August 1, 2015

Plankton Tow!

Hello Everyone!

plankton_net.jpg (217×143)Each week kids are asking "why is the water so dark?", "what's crawling all over my hands?" and the list goes on. For some my little Harbor Explorers, it's hard to wrap their minds around the fact that our ocean is filled with all kinds of microscopic life, such as Zooplankton and Phytoplankton, which indeed makes our ocean that blue/green color. So of course the marine biologist inside me is like we need to make plankton nets and use our Discovery Scopes. For people that don't know what a plankton net is or what it does, it's simply, a net with a bottle attach to it. When you tow it behind the boat, it will allow you to catch Zooplankton and Phytoplankton. The diagram above is an example of what one could look like.
Plankton Net!
Hard at work!

I wanted all my kids to get a chance to make one, so we divided them into groups. The great thing about this project, is that most of the materials we used except from the stockings we used for the net material, was things we recycled. I loved that aspect of the project because it gave my Harbor Explorers hands on experience reusing materials they would never think to do. Materials like the juice cups they get from snack time and fishing line. They were thrilled to put them together and curious to what they would be able to catch.
Towing a plankton net!

I see plankton!
Once they were all assembled the kids held them up with excitement. The next day we brought them on the sailboats and dropped them down and towed them in the water. As we were waiting to pull them up, I was showing them our Discovery Scopes that we have, which are wicked awesome in my opinion. They are great if you want to get a close look at something, like plankton and not have to carry around a big heavy microscope, which is not practical with little kids.

Finally we had our first sample! Having the kids look through the scopes was a blast! Not only did we look at the plankton in our sample, we also looked at the skeleton shrimp that's always all over our mussels we get and our lobster trap. Getting a close up look at the plankton really helps them understand what's going on with our food web. They also get so much pride knowing that they made their own tools to learn about something new.

Till our next adventure, Nikita Cayabyab
All of our finished products! 

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