Sunday, March 13, 2011

Elly Jelly

On Saturday I went out to Coney Island to a professional development workshop at the New York Aquarium. I biked out, which I have done before, but was much easier this time around (having a better sense of Brooklyn from biking to Brooklyn Boulders, cat sitting in Flatbush, to visiting friends in Park Slope certainly helped). After Prospect Park, it's a straight shot down Ocean Parkway, through the Hasidic neighborhoods of Midwood and Gravesend to Coney Island. Being a Saturday morning around 7am, the bike path was packed with families on their way to Temple, decked out in Jewish regalia. I refrained from snapping a pic of a 70 year old man with a cane, in a suit, yarmulke, and tallit, attempting to hop a fence from the street to the bike path and using both hands to lift his second leg over the fence. Though he was struggling, he looked like he had done it before, so I did not stop to see if he needed help. 

And you thought Avenue D was out of the way...
The beach and boardwalk were pristine. Looked nothing like the sea of people that I know from mid summer Coney Island on a Saturday, crowded with obese people in tank tops, double fisting corn dogs and funnel cake. Everything was closed and the rides were empty, which sounds kid of sad, but wasn't. It felt more like spying on what Coney Island does when no one is paying attention. Locals were power walking and old people were bundled up and walking hand in hand down the boardwalk. Very cute.

8:00 am. Who knew Coney Island was beautiful?

Deserted boardwalk. 
The workshop was on Elly Jelly, a jellyfish (now called sea jellies because they aren't really fish, they're cnidarians) character and her ocean friends. Elly Jelly, the story, was lame. Appropriate for 1st grade. 4th graders won't buy it. However, the jellyfish exhibit was beautiful. Very calming to watch jellyfish undulate in their bright blue tanks (see the video at the bottom). We were taught that undulate is the correct word to describe their movement- not flap or pump or contract. Undulate.
Ice breaker activity on the beach- graphing w/ people as the data.
Will definitely use this w/ my class.

Navy + bright green + seahorses = put it on a wrap dress, DVF 
We hit the aquarium exhibit early before the families got there. Genius plan. We had the place to ourselves. I stood in front of the Western Sea Nettle tank for a full five minutes just watching the pink and purple patterns change and the tentacles trail along behind like ribbons. Gonna getcha ribbons full of poision, but beautiful nonetheless. I also enjoyed watching the dwarf caiman aka miniature alligator. He didn't blink or move the whole time I watched him. As I sketched him (for my worksheet of course), I began to doubt that he was alive. He could have easily been a high quality rubber alligator like, from FAO Schwarz or something.

After lunch, we got a behind the scenes tour of the Coral nursery and Sea Jelly labs. I can't remember the last time I was in a science lab. It was cool to see science going on in real life. I often wonder where science happens, like when you say you want to "grow up and be a scientist." Where does that happen and what it looks like? I guess on CSI in the forensics labs. And if you work for Pfizer, but who wants to do that?

Laboratory
Mini Nemos!

Coral nursery. The center/biggest ones have taken 3 months to
grow from a 1" cutting

Jellies have to live in a round tank or they will get stuck in the
corners and die. Stupid Jellies. Get a brain. These are Japanese Jellies
We rounded out the day by writing poems, doing crafts and watching some videos about anemone. I was surprisingly exhausted and super cranky coming home in the cold. Biking in traffic wasn't helping the frustration level. I collided with the Prospect Park Farmer's Market and took a time out for a cookie and apple cider. 10 minutes of people watching and a little snack and I was back to feeling like a happy person again!

Love watching jellyfish:

video

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