This week is Crustacean Crusaders week! We are lucky at Courageous that we have lobster traps along the dock that we can pull up so our campers can meet many sea creatures up close. Among the common creatures that we find in our traps, most are crustaceans so our students are very familiar with local crabs and lobsters.
Boston Harbor is home to many different crustaceans including barnacles, crabs, and lobsters, but our weekly activities focused on crabs. After reviewing the characteristics of crustaceans, such as their jointed appendages, two pairs of antennae, and exoskeleton, we focused on the crabs found in Boston Harbor that are actually invasive species. The European Green Crab and Asian Shore Crab are more common in Boston Harbor than some of our native species, such as Red Rock crabs and Jonah crabs.
The game we played to learn about invasive species is called “Web of Life” and is originally designed to teach about Zebra mussels but is very easy to replace with any common invasive species near where you live. The students had a lot of fun playing this game and it very clearly demonstrated what happens to the food chain when an invasive species is introduced. This activity can be found at the link below: http://www.nps.gov/miss/forteachers/upload/brjweblife.pdf
With some of the students, I had time to play another game to learn about crabs called “Crab Tag.” This activity taught about how crabs survive in the wild and about how some animals can regenerate part of their bodies as a survival technique. Some keys to remember when leading this activity: emphasize gentle “pinching” and encourage students to only “pinch” the other “crabs” on their arms. This activity, along with other fun educational games, can be found at the link below:
As always, after playing any game I take a few minutes to wrap up and relate back to the week’s theme.
The students and staff loved learning about crustaceans this week but we also focused a lot on other marine environmental topics these week because The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean came to visit our sailing center. More about that in our next post!