Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Coral Reef

I choose to watch a NOVA episode on the coral reef. This was geared toward elementary level students. However, I found out things that I didn't know. There are thousands of species that live around the coral reef, both herbivores ad carnivores.Herbivores are most active during the day and must find hiding places to avoid the carnivores that come out to hunt at night. Did you know there is a fish called a squirrel fish? It does not resemble a squirrel, so I do not know why it is named this. Most are either red or orange, are covered with large scales and have prominent spines in their dorsal fins. When full grown they range in size from 5 inches up to 18 inches in length. They usually stay in groups. It's large eyes are helpful in seeing prey in the dark. The Atlantic Spade Fish, the Angel fish, the Parrot fish and the Blue Chromes fish are just a few others that live on the reef and are out by day.

Other fish live on and hunt the coral reef as well. Sea Urchins that feed on algae, the Porcupine fish which is a very common sight, solitary Octopus with suckers on it's arms that can taste what it is touching, and the tinafore which is bio-luminescent and looks a lot like a jellyfish. These animals come out at night and are gone with the first light.

This is only one of many videos that are available to teachers who can then use them in the classroom. I could see using this video to teach a lesson on fish for the younger elementary age. I could also use this video to teach a science lesson that teaches about the different animals and fish that are herbivores and carnivores. This video could also be used in a lesson on coral reefs and the danger most are in. Another lesson might be conservation and how the reef is home to so many different fish that it needs to be protected.

There are many lessons that could be taught with this one video, and there are a lot out there to choose from. I think that using these video podcasts is a wonderful way to keep children engaged in the learning process. Wouldn't it be more fun to watch an octopus changing itself to blend in with the rocks instead of looking a static picture in a book? Children learn better when they are engaged and interested. If I can keep a science class full of seven and eight years olds interested by showing them a video every Friday about the topic being studied, I will absolutely do it.

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