Daily activity 59: Coral Reefs

June 11, 2020

This week’s theme:

Mysterious Places – The Ocean

Fact of the day:

Coral reefs are living structures found underwater and are home to a diverse group of sea creatures. Coral Reefs are often called ‘Rainforests of the Sea’.

Resources list:

Youtube; Bowl of warm water; Paint, straws, paper; Hard and soft objects; Paper and colouring pens/pencils; Colander/sieve/old pair of tights, jug of water, beads/seeds/dried lentils/dry rice; Paint, bubble mixture, or washing up liquid, paper; Chalk, seashells, vinegar.

Activity 1:

Coral reefs are spectacular, densely packed gardens in the sea that are home to a huge amount of marine life. Coral reefs are living structures that are home to the greatest diversity of life in the oceans, and are second only to tropical rainforests in the number of species found in one area on Earth. Nearly 25% of all marine life depends upon coral reefs for their survival.Because of this, coral reefs are often called “the rainforests of the sea”. Coral reefs are fragile. Boating and pollution can damage coral reefs.

Watch this livestream filmed with an underwater camera in the coral reefs of the Cayman Islands.

Gently wave and move your body like the movement of the coral in the livestream.

Fill a bowl with warm tropical water and slowly wiggle your fingers in the waters, mimicking the movement of coral.

Activity 2:

Make some paint blown coral paintings using a straw like this. Share your artwork with us on our FacebookInstagram or Twitter or send it to melanie@purplepatcharts.org and we’ll put it online for you!

Activity 3:

There are two main types of coral- Hard Coral and Soft Coral.

Have a hunt around your house for colourful hard and soft objects. Bring them back to a table and make a ‘coral’ arrangement.

Activity 4:

There are corals called ‘Gorgonians’ which take the shape of a fan. They are orange, red, yellow, pink, purple, and white, and while able to grow several feet high and across, they are typically only a few inches thick. The more flexible and fan shaped it is, the rougher the water they live in tends to be.

Make a paper fan and decorate it with oranges, reds, pinks and purples and then waft it in the swell of the ocean, or as you dance along to this song.

Activity 5:

Sea Pen coral looks like the quill of an old fashioned pen. It is found in tropical waters and roots itself into the ocean floor and filters plankton (like this) from the water with its plumage.

Use a colander/sieve/old pair of tights to ‘filter’ some plankton. Fill a jug of water with ‘plankton’ – these could be beads, seeds, dried lentils, dry rice, etc. Pour the jug of water through your filter to see how many plankton you can catch, allowing the clear water to pass through, like it passes through the Sea Pen. If you used a colander, did some of your plankton pass through the bigger holes?

Activity 6:

Finger Coral looks like human fingers. Exercise your fingers and hands with these exercises.

Activity 7:

Bubble Coral is a delicate coral that lives in shallow reefs. It expands/grows bigger during the day to increase how much sunlight it can soak in, and retracts/makes itself smaller at night to let its tentacles out to feed.

Have a gentle dance, rising and falling like bubbles to this song.

Try making some bubble paintings.

Activity 8:

Coral reefs are very fragile and delicate. Pollution is causing the water in coral reefs to become more acidic. This acid is killing coral reefs. Try an experiment that demonstrates the ability that acid (in this case, vinegar) has to ‘dissolve’ the coral reefs and shells which protect ocean life. The coral in this experiment is represented by chalk, or sea shells (if you have any that you don’t mind dissolving) as these are made up of the same material as coral.

Carefully half fill a clear cup or container with clear vinegar. Add a piece of chalk to the container. Some chalk is made with a protective cover to stop chalk rubbing off on hands. It may help to break a piece of chalk into smaller pieces to better see effects of the vinegar. Observe what is happening.