Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Squid Dissection: a Photo Essay

Did you know that squid have three hearts, clear pellet-like ocular lenses and a reproductive system that rivals the bean weevil?  I didn’t either until I volunteered to help my daughter’s third-grade class dissect squid.  

I will never be the same.

Third graders are generally eight years old.  My experience has shown me that 8-year olds are good at deconstructing SpongeBob episodes, building forts out of blankets and eating an astronomical number of sugar cookies in one sitting.  But squid dissection?

I was lucky enough to supervise my daughter’s dismemberment of the unfortunate cephalopod.  First let me explain that her class was divided into groups of two, each with a grayish, googly-eyed squid in a large styrofoam, carry-out container, like this:
Help me, help me! 
The poor girl (as we would soon discover) never knew what hit her.  

Sis’s lab partner was named Ryan, or as his classmates like to call him, Ryanosaur, because of his obsession with prehistoric creatures. Ryanosaur was a bit more comfortable with the thought of slicing and dicing a squid in the name of science (he plans on a long and lucrative career as a Paleontologist).  Sis, not so much.
But once they were given toothpicks and told to poke and prod their subject a bit, Leah became more enthusiastic about the whole ordeal.  Okay, not really, but at least she didn’t flee the room.
These third-graders were tasked with 1) slicing the squid down the middle to locate its heart, ink sac and reproductive organs

2) decapitating the poor creature and examining its tentacles

3) cutting the head in head in half (at which point my daughter perked up tremendously and the adult supervisor, aka me, became slightly nauseated).
4) popping out the eyes and locating the ocular lenses (at which point the adult supervisor, me again, required an intermediate break)
5) finding and removing the beak
and 6) perforating the ink sac and, using the ink, writing their names on a separate piece of paper. 
Needless to say, our ink sac was small...
There.  That wasn’t so bad now, was it?  I must admit that my daughter was a trooper as attested by the following picture, which was taken after and not before The Dissection, mind you.
As for myself, I realized that while I can deconstruct old Friends episodes, extract slivers and cleanup vomit without incident (not to mention eat an astronomical number of sugar cookies in one sitting), I’m not nearly as equipped as my 8-year old daughter to dissect one ‘lil ole squid.  

The End.


Elisa said...

your daughter is beautiful, just like her mom.

shauna said...

Ah, thanks, Elisa!