Predators of the Sea and Sky

It may not be shark week on Discovery Channel, but it certainly is shark crazy in Predators class!

Evan, Wyatt, Ava, Annika, and Jaden all had exciting things to say about one of their favorite predators – sharks.

Evan and Wyatt both chose megalodon sharks for their final projects. “A megalodon was a great white shark. It’s extinct now,” Evan said.

“Yeah, it’s a big version of a great white shark,” added Wyatt. A bigger version of a great white??

Evan gave an example: “A megalodon tooth is as big as a man’s hand…and as long as a bus.” Wyatt was excited that Evan made the same size comparison as he had.

“I did ‘it’s as big as a school bus,’ too!” he exclaimed, holding up his poster featuring a drawing of the shark alongside a vertical, floating school bus.

Ava said she loves sharks. “I like learning about them a lot.” One thing she’s learned is that there are a lot of myths about sharks.

On the “Fact or Fiction – Shark Myths” door, Ava pointed out her poster and explained that a lot of people think sharks are dangerous because of what they see in movies. “My poster tells people that sharks aren’t killers,” she said. “They’re nice and calm.”

Jaden’s goblin shark may be one reason people don’t trust sharks in general. “They look creepy, of course, because they’re goblins,” he said. He pointed to one of the photos he was placing in his slideshow. A long, grotesque protrusion jutted over the face of the prehistoric creature. “I think that’s the nose,” he said.

Jaden said not much is known about goblin sharks. “Like for most sharks, scientists have not figured out their lifespan, migration, reproduction, social groups, population counts,” he listed. One reason, is that it’s more difficult to study creatures in the water, especially a bottom-dweller like the goblin shark that lives as deep as 3,940 feet, he said.

Jaden would love the opportunity to study goblins someday. “If I brought a sub down then I definitely would not leave the sub. It’d be very creepy for a shark like this,” he speculated. “It’s probably harmless, but it’s rarely been encountered.”

Annika showed us the “Shark Superlatives” wall that categorized sharks into biggest, smallest, fastest, longest-living, etc. “We had to research all these,” she said. “We looked in books and online.”

The whale shark was listed under the “biggest” category, since it grows as long as 40 feet. “The smallest is five inches,” Annika said in contrast. “It’s a dwarf lantern shark.”

Amidst all the shark mania, Evie chose a different kind of predator to study, one that is neither of sea nor sky. “I looked up the fennec fox and I found some facts,” she said, as she worked on her poster. The fennec is a small nocturnal fox with distinctive, unusually large ears.

She was discouraged when she learned that the fox is not only a predator, but also prey. “People hunt them for their fur,” she lamented. “But fennec foxes are good to the world. They eat insects.”

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