Under the Sea at Spear!

Under the Sea at Spear photo
When students in Kari Costanzo’s fifth-grade class started their Living Systems science curriculum, the opportunity to investigate starlet sea anemones came to life when they worked with two scientific educators who also happen to be parents to a student in the class.

Dr. Gerald Thomsen, a professor in Stony Brook University’s Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and Julia Tudorov-Thomsen, a biologist and marine scientist, (and parents of Isabela) conducted a lab experiment with the students, in which they observed the anemones eat marine life and then cut a piece of them to investigate the regeneration process.

The students recorded their observations in a sketch pad, and Dr. Thomsen returned a week later to check out their investigative findings. As Mrs. Costanzo guided the students in what they could record, how they anemones changed shapes during the experiment and asked each of them to present and explain their findings, she recognized that their curiosity was peeked and their enthusiasm for the unit was compounded by the professional visits.

“They all had great questions about how anemones can regenerate while other organisms cannot,” Mrs. Costanzo said and as Dr. Thomsen pointed out – for scientific investigation, there are no right or wrong answers. “As we document our work and share our research, it’s just a cool thing to show off,” he said.