One of my favorite parts of Sisters4Science is the flexibility we have to explore the interests of our students. At the beginning of the semester, a few of the students expressed interest in doing a dissection of any type. Some of the girls had prior dissection experience with frogs and pig hearts, but some of them had never done it. I was excited to bring something completely new to the girls! I studied biology in college, but my favorite parts were always animal behavior and marine biology. I decided I wanted to share with them a member of my personal favorite animal family: cephalopods! The cephalopod family consists of Octopus, Squids, and Cuttlefish to name some of the more commonly known members. I wanted to share not only the unique anatomy of the squid, but also the amazing behaviors of these seemingly “simple” creatures.
To say all the girls were super excited when I pulled out the squids on Monday would be a lie. The face on about half of the girls face when I pulled out five squids from my box was priceless, and I wish there had been a picture of that exact second. “WHAT IS THAT?!” exclaimed Halle. “EW were dissecting THAT?” said another student. But the disgust of some students was equally matched with other students’ excitement! “Woah, that’s so cool!” said Alaijah. (I can say that by the end of the dissection, each of the girls had at the very least touched each part of the squid that we discussed. Sometimes once the unknown becomes known, it is not as gross, or scary.)
After we took all the pieces apart and talked about the basic properties of the parts, the girls were able to cut apart the different parts to see if they could find out what was going on inside the pieces. Halle and Alaijah found that if you cut the mouth open you could find the teeth. Cody found that you could peel the top layer of the skin off the squid. On this layer we could see colored spots that allow the squid to camouflage itself better than almost any other animal, and this is despite squids being colorblind!
In the next month, we are excited to prepare for the Reflections of Knowledge and share with everyone a few of our favorite experiments from the year!
Written By: Meghan Bagley