The older kids at Fishtown Recreational Center created “talking” oysters (or clams). We discussed the various mollusks and how a pearl is made. It’s said when a piece of sand or other irritant (like a parasite) makes its way into the oyster, a defense mechanism kicks in to protect itself from the annoyance. Their internal organ called the mantle, uses minerals from the oyster’s food to produce a substance called nacre, which coats the irritant over and over again. Layer upon layer of this coating is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed. Oysters are the main mollusk to produce a pearl, but other mollusks like clams and mussels can occasionally create pearls as well.
They started with pre-cut, symmetrical shells that hinged on one end. They colored the outside of their shells however they wished. Next, they ‘hid’ something within the shell. Somehow we got on the topic of “Spongebob” and everyone started singing the theme song. We also sang Spongebob’s other hit, “F-U-N”.. “F is for friends who do stuff together, U is for you and me, N is for anywhere and anytime at all, down here in the deep blue sea!” So, naturally, many children hid Spongebob, Patrick and Squidward’s homes inside! One child who was interested in Pokemon, related the shell to Shellder, a water-type Pokemon who hides inside a shell. We also talked about the beach and where we have found shells. This group really loved this lesson, every shell was completely covered in art!