The Brighton High School Science Department is using a new "touch tank", purchased with BEF funding, to familiarize students with common marine invertebrates, such as horseshoe and hermit crabs, sea anemones, and marine snails.
Hand-feeding the sea anemone pieces of meat is an especially popular activity. Students learn that an anemone stings its prey to death before drawing it into its mouth and eating it. Biology and Environmental Science teacher George Smith explains that "Students are initially concerned, but a sea anemone is not capable of hurting a human -- our skin is too thick. Their stinging only makes their tentacles feel sticky to us. We use this as an avenue for conversations on comparative anatomy, and they learn relevant facts about the stinging cells of 'cnidaria' -- the jellyfish, sea anemones, and corals."
BHS science teachers also use the touch tank and its inhabitants to promote the annual whale watch field trip to Cape Cod. The touch tank is on a large cart, which allows it to visit all the biology classrooms.
Purchase of the touch tank was funded by the David DeHaven Memorial Fellowship.
story and photos by George Smith
April 3, 2003