Updated: Apr 26, 2020
While the lovable Scarecrow dance, stumbled and sang, “If I Only Had a Brain” in The Wizard of Oz, the amazing jellyfish seems to have done quite well for more than 650 million years without a brain! Not only is the jellyfish brainless, it is one of the more otherworldly creatures on earth. When you see it slow-dancing in an ocean current, it looks like a translucent jewel and it seems far too beautiful to be capable of causing us such discomfort.
Jellyfish are predators, but they have no brain, teeth, claws, stinger or any other typical weaponry. Instead, they are equipped with tentacles and venom. Their tentacles contain millions of microscopic structures called nematocysts, each bearing a small dose of venom. When prey makes contact with these tentacles, the venom disables the prey, making it possible for this floating mass of “jelly” to defeat prey without endangering itself.
In this activity, children will create a jellyfish windsock complete with stunned prey fish in its tentacles.
Two (clear) kitchen trash bags or you can make this on a smaller scale with gallon or pint-sized Ziplocs
Colored paper (for fish)
Stapler and staples
Crumple one of the trash bags into a ball and stuff it into the corner of the other bag. The ball will be the head of the jellyfish. Tape around the bottom of the ball to form a neck.
Cut part of the trash bag hanging down from the head into long strips to make the tentacles.
Push a string through the neck of the jellyfish and tie the two ends together to make a hanger for the windsock.
Decorate several paper fish to “feed” the jellyfish. Use markers and sequins to decorate up to 3 fish. Staple each fish to a jellyfish tentacle.
Reprinted from curriculum written for a museum Discovery Day.