Sponges are the most primitive of all the animal groups. They live in water and do not move from place to place. For a long time people did not know that they were animals. People thought that sponges were plants. They do filter tiny organisms out of the water for food. Water currents carry the food and oxygen to them.
Sponges are found mostly in saltwater oceans, but some are even found in freshwater rivers and lakes. They attach themseves to underwater objects.
Compare a natural sponge and a synthetic (man-made) sponge.
- natural sponge
- synthetic/kitchen (man-made) sponge
- hand lens
- microscope if available
- Observe a natural sponge.
- Use a hand lens to observe a natural sponge.
- If available use a microscope to examine a natural sponge.
- Sketch a picture of the sponge.
- Repeat the above steps with a synthetic sponge.
- Compare and contrast the 2 sponges. How are they alike? How are they different?
These sponges are also available at craft stores like Michael's. Don't forget to bring a discount coupon.
Here are some resources for the students to learn more about sponges.
You Tube Video
Some students may bring up the fact that Sponge Bob is an invertebrate. (My students did!) :)
(FYI - Sponge Bob has a pet snail (also an invertebrate). Ask students that watch the show or read the books to name other characters in the show/books and identify their classifications. The Sponge Bob Show was created by marine biologist and animator Stephen Hullenburg.)
Books and Posters