Jul 312013

Venomous Marine Animals Lesson Plan

venomous marine animals

1) Purpose:

Students will learn about venomous marine animals, the nature of venom, and the treatment of envenomation.

Students will conduct an experiment to learn / demonstrate how proteins such as venoms can be denatured and will explore venomous creatures through research and reporting.

2) Venomous Marine Animals Science Goal(s)

Students will be able to name at least six venomous marine animals, with at least three being sea creatures, and will be able to name the animal habitats and geographical locations.

Students will be able to define coagulate, denatured, envenom, protein, toxicologist, venom.

Students will be able to explain what happens when heat is applied to envenomated victims and why we would want to apply the heat treatment.

3) Venomous Marine Animals Science Lesson Objectives:

Students will successfully perform egg activity.

Students will look up and write down definitions for given vocabulary words.

Students will participate in classroom discussions.

Students will complete worksheets and specify an animal to research.

Students will write a two+ page report on the venomous animal they researched.

Students will present a short oral synopsis of the animal they are reporting on.

Students will participate in treatment planning (through extension student reports & group activity).

4) Target Audience:

High school level Biology class.

5) Materials and Resources:

  • raw eggs – one for each pair of students
  • bowls or glass beakers – one for each pair of students
  • table
  • spoons – one for each pair of students
  • heated water
  • compresses – one for each student
  • dictionary access
  • Computer Internet access and/or Library/Research time
  • Worksheets

6) Venomous Marine Animals Science Anticipatory Set:

Write in LARGE, colorful letters on the board:  jellyfish with tentacles + hot liquid = ?  

The answer students will learn: “denatured venom”

7) Venomous Marine Animals Science Lesson:

Step-by-step instructions for teaching Venomous Marine Animals Science lesson.
a. Explain:
Toxicologists report that venoms represent some of the most complex chemical compounds in nature. There are many fish species with spines capable of injecting venom. This ability is nearly always a protective mechanism, but is occasionally used for incapacitating prey. The spines may be concealed, as in the stonefish, or displayed, as in the lionfish, as a warning to predators. Many venoms are actually proteins and as such can be denatured through special techniques including heat treatment.

b. Show the film: Secrets of the Ocean Realm episode “Venom!”, or create small groups to research venomous sea creatures on the Internet or in the library.  Have them recall geographical locations of these creatures.

c. Have students call out the venomous sea creatures they recall from the film or research.  Write these on the board.  Responses may be coral, jellyfish, sea urchins, lionfish, sting rays, or others.  Have them recall information about the ocean habitat for each creature listed (coral reef, ocean floor, tidal region, etc)

d.  Explain: There are ways to treat envenomation of a victim.  One way is through heat treatment.  You all are about to be envenomated by an egg!!  We must subsequently prepare our denaturing treatment!

e. Perform the experimental denaturing treatment activity.

f. Explain: Venomous animals are common among insects, fishes, amphibians, and reptiles.

There are no venomous birds, and only one venomous mammal-the duckbill platypus of Australia. (The latter has venom glands in its hind legs and delivers its venom by scratching with specially adapted claws.)

Explain that each student will choose an example from these groups to write a report on, to share with the class, and will have one week for library or other research.  Tell students to consider the potency of venoms, how the animals deliver them, what their purposes are, as well as information about the geographical location and habitat of the animal.

f. Hand out Venomous Marine Animals Science worksheets.

g. Explain to extension students they will become “team leaders” for an “Envenomation Rescue Group”. They will need to research alternative methods of treatment other than heat application and lead a rescue planning session with their group in two days.  Assign student groups with each “team leader”.  On the day of discussion, each group will discuss alternative treatment plans, decide which treatments they will use and why, and decide what course of treatment they would prefer if they were envenomated.

They will develop a presentation to be given on Friday. (Students may work on independent research and/or in their Envenomation Rescue Group as daily activities.)

8) Guided Practice:

Venomous Marine Animals Science Experimental procedure:

1. Have students break an egg into a bowl/beaker and remove the yolk using a table spoon. (Tilt the beaker in order to make removal easier).

2. Save the white in the beaker. This white, a protein compound, will be used to represent the venom of a marine animal.

3. Now, using volunteers from among the students, carefully pour the “venom” onto the backs of hands or arms. (These limbs are the ones most commonly envenomated during accidental contact with marine animals.)

4. After soaking the compresses in hot water (not scalding!) apply the hot compresses to the envenomated areas. After a few moments, remove the compresses and observe the results. What has happened to the “venom?” Is it now more readily removed from the limb?

Explain Venomous Marine Animals Science:
Most fish venoms, being proteins, are readily denatured by the application of heat. In much the same way the egg white solidifies when heated, venoms coagulate under heat treatment. This coagulation inhibits their circulation under the skin, in the case of punctures by spines or injections by fangs, and allows their ready removal in the case of surface stings such as delivered by jellyfish and corals.

9) Independent Practice:

Students will complete the provided worksheet and choose an example from among insects, fishes, amphibians, and reptiles to write a report on and to share with the class. They will have one week for library or other research.  Students must consider the potency of venoms, how the animals deliver them, what their purposes are, as well as report information about the geographical location and habitat of the animal.  Reports should be at least two full double-spaced, typed pages, font size 12.

10) Assessment of Learning:

Verify student mastery of content or measure student progress.


Point Value

Full participation in egg-speriment.


Worksheet completed and definitions for given vocabulary words.

Each vocabulary word 5 points: 30

Discussion question: 10

Participated in classroom discussions.


Two+ page report
on the venomous animal (30 pts)

Venom nature: 05

Venom purpose: 05

Habitat Info: 10

Venomous Marine Animals Geographical Location: 10

Presented a short oral synopsis of their animal.


Participate in treatment planning (through extension student reports & group activity).

10 Bonus

Total Points


Other Considerations for Venomous Marine Animals Science:

11. Venomous Marine Animals Science Subject connections: Geography (location), Reading (research), Writing (report), Public Speaking skills.

12. Venomous Marine Animals Science Accommodations:

Let students work in pairs on egg-speriment.

Have an assistant read research content to students or have books on tape available.

Provide a scribe to take dictation of students’ worksheet and report content.

13. Venomous Marine Animals Science Modifications:

Let students explore eggs – provide a large bowl and apron.  Practice

“gentle” egg handling, observing changes when pouring hot liquid in with the eggs, etc.

Let students look at or read basic books on sea creatures.

Provide students with pictures of sea creatures.  Teach them to identify the creatures.

14. Venomous Marine Animals Science Extensions:

Have students research articles regarding envenomation by marine animals at:

American Family Physician’s Poisoning, Envenomation, and Trauma from Marine Creatures (p.3-6).

eMedicine’s Echinoderm Envenomations Treatment.

Prepare comments regarding effective treatment choices other than heat therapy. 

Assign each extension student an “Envenomation Rescue Group” to lead. Have them lead their group in discussions regarding rescue choices. Have the group decide what course of treatment they would prefer if they were envenomated!

Jul 312013

Oceanography Sites and teaching tools for your Learning Abled Kids

ocean scienceocean

Oceanography is a fascinating area of study. The oceans cover 3/4ths of the world and affect climate zones across the globe. Oceans are a critical to our world, so they require good care from every person on Earth. Learn more about our awesome oceans through the wide variety of sites below.

These links were gathered by our boys during their Ocean Odyssey First Lego League Robotics quest. It was a fun study! Feel free to use the resources below to help your learning abled kid learn all about Oceanography.

I’ve listed all of the resources we gathered. They are not listed in any particular order. You can glance down through the list to find sites you’d like to check out. There are certainly a lot of sites to choose from!

All about oceans and oceanography

NASA Oceanography.
NASA’s Climate Kids explore the oceans.
Ocean Literacy.
BBC’s Earth – How the Earth Works.
NOAA’s National Ocean Service – Oceanography .
PBS’s Secrets of the Ocean Realm.
National Marine Mammal Laboratory.
Discovery Channel – Science of the Ocean.
Office of Naval Research – Ocean in Motion.
Jason Project – Scroll down for Ocean Expeditions.
Reef ball.
Shifting Baselines.
Monterey Bay Aquarium.
New jellyfish.
How Sonar Works and How Animals Use It.

Other Topics In Ocean Science

Declining Predatory Fish Populations (PDF file).
Australia & Albatrosses.
Albatross Action.
Coral Reef Ecosystem.
Really deep creatures.

Engineering & Research

Underwater habitat for humans.
Deep sea robot.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.
Dive & Discover Expedition Logs.
Underwater Volcano Seafloor Observatory.
Underwater Robots you can build.


oceanography study kitocean science

SS Republic.


Women Oceanographers.
Ocean Science Careers.
Oceanography Career site for kids

If you find additional sites you’d like to share, feel free to add a comment below. The comments are not posted until approved, so we can screen out spam. 😉 Thank you for sharing great resources with our Learning Abled Kids community!

Jul 312013

Marine Science Resource Sites for Kids

marine science for kids

NASA Oceanography – NASA seeks to teach about our oceans and scientific exploration. They sponsor programs and projects designed to increase ocean literacy among learners of all ages and backgrounds. This site is colorful, interactive, and among my favorites for the marine science sites. There is plenty to read and lots of wonderful images to delight the visual learner.

Sea World – Contains tons of great information about sea critters and marine science. The “Teacher’s Guides”, provided in the teacher’s section, are the BEST materials for complete curriculum units. They are free, contain math, reading, writing, history, geography, etc., and are geared towards grade-level and subject. “Fun Zone” activities are printables rather than interactive explorations. This site as a great home schooling resource!

MacGillivray Freeman’s Coral Reef Adventure – Perhaps my FAVORITE Ocean exploration site, this site is interactive, educational and just plain FUN! Based upon the IMAX movie, “Coral Reef Adventure”, this site lets students play games and explore to learn more about coral reefs and marine science.

Virginia Marine Science Museum Virtual Field Trip – Can’t go to Virginia to visit the Marine Science Museum? Go on a field trip anyway! This virtual tour contains photos of animals on exhibit and provides text information about each species. Be sure to check out the link to the “WhaleNet” where pinnepeds are being tracked via satellite. You can view the maps to see where they have been!

PBS’s Secrets of the Ocean Realm – This site is based upon the film series of the same title. The site is relatively small, but colorful and has great activities for teachers to use. The activities are basically science experiments that convey a concept about marine life. While not complete learning units, the activities are fun to incorporate into lessons when you are studying the ocean. (Check out my complete Venomous Marine Animals lesson plan adapted from this site.)

Ocean World – http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/ is a joint project between Texas A& M,
The Jason Project
, and NASA. The satellite, Jason1, transmits information which is used to develop topic based study units for the study of marine science. Ocean World provides interactive information about our oceans.

National Marine Mammal Laboratory – This site provides tons of information on marine mammal species, exploration, and other aspects of marine mammal preservation. The site is primarily text-based, has photos, and good research information. The site is not particularly “interactive”.

Homeschool Science Unit Studies Page

Be sure to check out our MAIN Science Page for a list of many additional science topics for kids. Each topic page has links to interactive, audio-visual websites and optional resources to help you with your homeschool science.

Jul 312013

Ocean Science Unit Study for Kids

ocean science

If you’re homeschooling and looking for ocean science or oceanography studies, we gathered these resource sites when we studied oceans. Since my guys are visual and kinesthetic learners, we needed ocean science sites outside of typical textbooks. The links lead to sites with content my guys found helpful and interesting.

Ocean Science – Human Affects on the Carbon Cycle and Our Oceans

Our guys started by studying the affects people have on the oceans. The sites listed in this section focus mostly on how humans affect the oceans and carbon cycle.

What is the Carbon Cycle and Why is it Important to Ocean Science?
The Carbon Cycle.

College level Carbon Cycling Course – The Marine Carbon Cycle.

Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems.

Source of Half Earth’s Oxygen Gets Little Credit.

Boost to CO2 mass extinction idea.

More about the Carbon Cycle and the health of our Oceans:

While researching the affects of people on the oceans, our guys read a lot of additional information about ocean science. The sites listed below aren’t in any particular order, nor do they cover any specific subject. These are just sites my guys found informative. They saved the URLs for further use in their research, which is where the list came from. I hope your child likes these sites as much as my guys did!
Carbon Conundrum.

Oceans Found to Absorb Half of All Man-Made Carbon Dioxide.

Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO).

Testimony on Terrestrial Carbon Dioxide Uptake to US Senate.

Where does most of the world’s oxygen come from?

Oxygen measurements help determine role of oceans and plants in greenhouse.

How do phytoplankton control the carbon cycle?

The Chemistry of the Oceans and Coral Reefs.

The Color of the Ocean.

Carbon Cycle – NASA Carbon Management National Priorities.

Science Unit Studies Resource Sites

Be sure to check out our MAIN Science Page for a list of many additional science topics for kids. Each topic page has links to interactive, audio-visual websites and optional resources to help you with your homeschool science.