Raking the leaves with my son recently turned out to be an opportunity for a birds and the bees, eh, I mean slug and a slug lesson. Hermaphroditic (i.e. a slug being a boy and girl at the same time) slug meets another hermaphroditic slug in the empty inflatable splash pool, romance arises and the slime oozes as they chase each other's tails in a sluggy slimy mating dance.
Honestly, as we were watching the slugs getting it on I have to admit that I was cautious jumping to conclusions as to the exact details of what we saw. My invertebrate morphology is not exactly up to snuff. After extensive Googling it appears that slug penises indeed are located on the right side of the head posterior to the bases of the two right tentacles. It appears that the correct terminology for this structure is gonopore and, somehow, it serves both the male and female reproductive functions (haven't been able to wrap my head around how that works though). Regarding the round opening on the right side of the slugs (clearly visible in the picture below). Naively I thought that it would be the genital opening where the gonophore would go but evidence seems to suggest otherwise. It appears that this opening is a pneumostome, a breathing pore connecting the lungs with the exterior.
Why trying to explain the birds and the bees when a live demonstration in the backyard is worth a thousand words. I am still, however, stumped about how they physically exchange the sperm. In this clip where David Attenborough is witnessing mating leopard slugs he alludes to sperm being exchanged through the gonopores.
My son thought everything was crystal clear and figured that the neatest thing about being a boy and a girl at the same time would be that everyone would have the same toys.
Science classrooms are unique learning environments unlike any other classrooms. As a matter of fact, some things only happen in science classrooms. Here is a collection of event that happened in my own science classroom over the last school year. It's a growing list, so check back for updates.
Report from yours truly live-tweeting and navigating the melee at GETCA 2015 (Annual Greater Edmonton Teachers' Conference).
Can a pencil be more than just your average run of the mill pencil? The legendary Palomino Blackwing Pearl can take a student or teacher's writing to new heights. We have taken a batch of the Pearls for a spin and are blown away by how much writing and sketching can be transformed by this unassuming pencil.
Dr. Pineda's Classroom is going YouTube with the release of its first screencast on the exciting topic of calculating percents. Only time will tell if this is the start of something big and shiny or just a passing fad.
After several weeks working on setting up habitats for new classroom animals the big day finally arrived. The newest addition to our classroom include aquatic denizens in our new aquarium and a teenage bearded dragon with lots of attitude and no table manners.