Students: Vanessa Akwada and Sofia Velasquez
Mentor: Tessa Hirschfeld-Stoler
All 2017-2018 Projects
Brief Description: Hydra as a learning tool: Introduction to the different forms of the nervous system across the animal kingdom, from hydra to human, and how they work at a cellular level.
This is a lesson based on the model organism hydra. Hydra are freshwater organisms of the cnidarian phylum. Like jellyfish they have stinging cells called nematocysts on their tentacles which they use to poison and paralyse prey. Their anatomy is very simple consisting of a nerve net formed in a tube-like structure surrounded by an outer ectoderm and inner endoderm, tentacles and a mouth.
This lesson which explores the intricate cellular mechanisms within a cnidocyte cell of simple yet intriguing creature — Hydra. This lesson is intended to spur curiosity and an appreciation of the complexity of microscopic life in 4th – 8th graders. More broadly, the lesson uses hydra to introduce the different forms of nervous system across the animal kingdom, from hydra to human, and how they work at a cellular level.