Friday, September 28, 2012

The Classwarming Gift That Kept Giving

On our very first day back to school, D. brought in a gift from his summer vacation at the beach:  a lovely hard brown horseshoe crab shell.  It is simply magnificent, and really takes me back to my childhood back in Delaware, where millions of horseshoe crabs descend upon the beaches each year to spawn and then return to the sea.  My grandmother, my sister and I loved tossing them back into the waves and watching the ones still left on the shore scuttle around.  No sooner did D's horseshoe crab enter our classroom than other fantastic natural treasures started coming in with other children.  Parts of horseshoe crabs soon arrived and later, an intact horseshoe crab with the lower parts of the body came in with F.  Below are pictures that the children drew of the various and sundry horseshoe crabs and parts that have shared our classroom with us.
O., E., T., and D. on the first day of school with the horseshoe crab
The horseshoe crab quickly became a provocation

F. tried to draw the horseshoe crab to scale

What does it eat?

D:  Bigger fish.
T:  Foxes come down to the beach at night.
O:  People don’t eat horseshoe crabs.  It’s really hard to explain.  Even if it’s good and I cooked it, I couldn’t chop it up. 
R:  You could eat it at a seafood restaurant.
D:  It smells like a thousand garbage bags.  It smells like that to avoid predators. 
S:  It smells bad because the seawater gets on it. 
T:  It always smells bad because flies have been on it.
D:  It’s not stinky in the sea, just when it gets out.  

After seeing that part of the body is missing from the underside, the children speculated about what parts might have been there:
B:  Legs.
L:  Sea sponges.
N:  It’s disintegrated.  That when something breaks down or decays.
D:  Another animal might have eaten it out.
T:  It was probably a bigger animal, like a fox, and then bugs came and got all the meat, because a fox couldn’t fit (its head) in here.
O:  But its tongue could.
T:  But a tongue doesn’t have teeth.

How are our bodies similar or different from the crab’s?
N:  It doesn’t have a nose. You can’t taste something if you don’t have a nose.  You know that bubbly water?  It’s only flavored because it’s a scent. You don’t actually taste it. 
T:  (Noticing that the eyes are far apart on the crab’s head):  Some animals can only see from the side. 
N:  They’re like a fly’s eyes.
T:  Its eyes are hard and ours are squishy.
F:  It doesn’t have a mouth.
B:  I think it might be on the back where the tail comes out.
E:  It’s a horseshoe crab because it looks like a horseshoe.  It’s hard. Is it made out of wood?

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