Students were told to look at articles/videos on the Big History Project for 5.3 and the following videos:
Since most of the students in my classes did biology with me last year, I wanted to do something different for the unit on life, so I ordered some tardigrades, aka water bears or moss piglets, from Carolina.com. I’ve tried to find them in moss around my yard but haven’t been successful. Carolina.com has instructions for keeping them alive and I’ve had them almost a week now. We used pipettes to suck up a few drops from the bottom of the container and could easily find 10 or more tardigrades on a slide. We used slides with shallow depressions so the tardigrades wouldn’t be squished. Students also brought moss samples from home and we found a variety of critters but no ‘wild’ water bears.
I also printed out a worksheet that I found on tardigrades at biologycorner.com. Students used their observations through the microscopes and researched tardigrades on the internet to answer the questions.
Below is a movie I made with various video clips taken through the microscope (40X & 100X) with my iPhone and a Celestron NexYZ phone mount. We discovered it was easier to see the tardigrades if we used a flashlight to illuminate the slides from above instead of using the microscope light from below since the tardigrades are fairly transparent.
One of the things I learned about tardigrades this week is that they molt! In the video above you can see the empty outline of a tardigrade and two oval eggs in the cuticle – the spent exoskeleton. We found eggs and cuticles a few times. In the photos and videos you can see their two dark eye spots and the claws on their eight legs. You can also see their stomachs are full of green algae. Tardigrades were a lot of fun to watch through the microscope and I highly recommend ordering some from Carolina.com if you can’t find any.
[homeschoolsciencegeek is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com]