In the video above, marine biologist Allen Collins, art student Alia Payne, and ocean educator Lara Noren discuss and show the different ways jellyfish move. Then Alia demonstrates how to build a puppet of a jellyfish that moves by jet propulsion. This Zoom webinar aired July 14, 2020, as as part of the museum's Deep Sea Animal Adaptations week, a Natural History Summer Explorations program for students entering Grades 3-7.
You can watch the video and then do the challenge below, or go right to the challenge.
Deep Sea Exploration Challenge
Jellyfish have two different swimming styles. Some use jet propulsion and are typically shaped like a cylinder. Others are flatter and disc-shaped and use a paddling motion to swim. Your challenge is to create a jellyfish puppet in one of these shapes to show how they move.
IMPORTANT: If you don’t have any of the items listed below, you can be creative and use what you have!
FOR JET PROPULSION JELLYFISH: 1 plastic bottle with the cap and label removed to serve as the “bell” or body of the jellyfish
FOR PADDLING JELLYFISH: 1 wide, bowl-shaped item like an open umbrella to serve as the “bell” or body of the jellyfish
1 plastic or paper bag for the tentacles
Tape or hot glue, and scissors
Optional: pens, or other items to decorate your puppet
Place the “bell” or body of the jellyfish on a flat surface.
Cut through the straps and seams of your bag to separate it into two panels. Set one panel aside and cut the other into ¼ inch strips. These strips will be your “tentacles”!
Apply a strip of tape or pea-sized amount of glue to the end of one of the strips and attach it to:
JET PROPULSION JELLYFISH: right before the ‘neck’ of the bottle, where it narrows into the opening.
PADDLING JELLYFISH: along the rim of the umbrella
Continue placing the tentacles all the way around the “bell” or body of the jellyfish puppet until it is covered with evenly spaced tentacles.
Move your puppet so it can “swim”
Squeeze the bottle to create a jet propulsion
Open and close the umbrella to paddle your jellyfish
Take It a Step Further
Simulate the jellyfish movement: Submerge your jet propulsion jellyfish puppet in the sink -- give the body of the jellyfish a few squeezes to simulate the animal’s movement. What do you notice about how the water around the jellyfish moves with each squeeze?
Create an environment: Jellyfish are not only found in the deep sea, they are also found throughout the different ocean ecosystems. Create a habitat for your jellyfish puppet by drawing, using construction paper, making a diorama, or other art form. Use the Ocean Portal to explore:
Put on a puppet show: Create other puppets of animals that jellyfish might encounter. What do they eat? Who eats them? Who else lives in the deep sea? Play with the different ways to tell stories about who lives in the deep sea.