Today's Snack: Make a pan of Jell-O
Jigglers in your favorite color. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Put a
couple on your plate and pretend they are glow-in-the-dark sea creatures. Then
eat them, with a couple of whole strawberries and a glass of juice.
Non-toxic glow-in-the-dark paints
and small paintbrush
(fabric paints work well and
squeeze out of the bottle,
so you won't need a paintbrush and
won't need clean-up)
Container of water and paper
towels for clean-up if using a brush
Piece of white cardstock, pencil
Book with pictures of deep-sea
or see photos on the left-hand
side of http://www.lifesci.ucsb.edu/~biolum/organism/photo.html
This activity is more fun in a
group, so that each student has a creature
you know there are living creatures deep in the dark, dark ocean that are like
living flashlights? They are like underwater lightning bugs, putting out light
from their own bodies to find food, find a mate, or protect themselves.
of these glow-in-the-dark creatures include the firefly squid (see it on the
right, above, spitting out some glow-in-the-dark liquid to try to keep the
bigger fish from eating it), the flashlight fish, the railroad worm, the
dragonfish, comb jellyfish, and many more. One of the weirdest is the angler
fish, which has a special fin that grows out in front of its snout with a tiny
light on the end of it. The angler fish uses this body part like a mini fishing
rod. Other fish think the blob of light is something to eat, and instead, the
angler fish eats THEM!
ocean is divided into three layers of light zones: the photic (FOE-tick) zone at the top (from the surface to about 220
yards down, or the lengths of two football fields), the twilight zone (between 220 to 1,100 yards down, about one-fifth of
a mile), and the aphotic zone, also
called "the midnight zone" (as deep as seven miles down). That last zone
receives no light at all from the sun or the moon because it's so deep. The
creatures that live there have only the light that they emit from their own
phenomenon is known as "bioluminescence." (BYE-oh-loom-in-ESS-ense).
The "bio" means "life" and whenever you see "lum-" as part of a word, you know
it has something to do with light. Where does the light come from? From natural
of these animals have special body parts that use their special body chemicals
to create the light. How? Through a chemical reaction. It's the same thing that
makes those glow-sticks start to light up that you can get at the circus or
around the Fourth of July.
have to eat other glow-in-the-dark creatures to get the chemicals. A few can't
make light on their own, but let tiny light-up bacteria grow on their bodies
like a coat in order to glow and glimmer down deep.
animals can work like a flashlight or a traffic stoplight, putting out light in
certain patterns that mean different things to other sea creatures. "Look out!"
or "Hi!" are examples of what their light patterns mean.
for some fun:
Study bioluminescent creatures
in a book or website. Then use a pencil to lightly sketch one on a piece of
cardstock. You can invent your own shapes or try to draw ones that exist.
Paint your creatures
with glow-in-the-dark paint. If you are using a squeeze bottle of fabric paint,
just squeeze out lines and squiggles; if you are using regular paint with a
paintbrush, you can make larger areas with a brush. Let dry.
Cut your creatures out.
Ask a few friends to
each hold a bioluminescent creature while you all go into a pitch-black
basement room or a closet. Decide in advance what different light patterns will
mean. Now "flash" to each other, showing your creatures off and on, like a
lightning bug, and make up different patterns for different messages: "Look
out!" for three flashes, for example, or "Hi!" for one short flash, or "Don't
eat me!" for five.