Cool cats went on a marine exploratory field trip to Kovalam. This was facilitated by the organization ‘Bay of life’.
The prime objectives of the trip were:
- Observing marine habitat of different species
- Understanding camouflage and adaptations of marine life
- Observe the neighborhood fishing community and their job
The first stop on the trip was the main Kovalam beach. Students were oriented to the beach and its directions. They observed the day to day activities on the beach front, from people playing in the water, surfing, boats sailing in and out, fishermen untangling their net and fisherwomen cleaning the fish to get it ready for sale.
They learnt the word ‘Cove’, saw the cove from a distance to understand its shape and came to know how Kovalam got its name.
Learners stopped at a few fishing nets to observe and explore a few creatures. They got to hold these animals and learnt information about their different body parts. Some ocean animals they saw included:
- Brittle star
- Star fish
- Crab – hermit crab, spider and a crab with an egg sac
- Electric ray
- Cuttle fish
- Murray eel
- Stone fish
- Target fish
A few highlights:
Learners saw a hermit crab whose house was invaded. They saw it use a shell to protect itself.
A sea snake which had just swallowed its meal was slithering. This was released back into the ocean.
An eel which had swallowed another fish – The fish was still visible in its jaws
A puffer fish which was found decomposed on the beach
A stone fish, whose eyes seem to have been eaten by the target fish.
Cuttlefish eggs- where learners could see the small embryo inside.
The second stop was at the back water. Students saw different birds like the pelican, kingfisher, egret and cormorant. They got an idea of how the cormorant fishes and they saw a few drying their wings after a dive. They were introduced to the term ‘mangroves’ and wondered how plans survived in the water with no soil. They walked around tide pools and saw where the river mixes with the ocean. They heard about the lifecycle of a sea bass. After picking shells and learning about univalve and bivalve shells learners moved to the rescued animals.
A few animals that were caught in the net and boats were rescued by bay of life volunteers and put in a small tub. There were 3 kinds of jellyfish, Corals, Algae, many star fish, electric ray, lobster and a few other marine creatures. Learners saw these animals up close, held a few in their hands and then watched them being released into the ocean.
Reflection: Learners were very excited and could not stop talking about their new learnings. They learnt a lot more about adaptations in the real settings than they would out of a textbook. This was evident when learners could recollect most information about adaptation. Though the trip involved a lot of walking, learners in their excitement did not mind the distance. Since learners noticed a lot of trash and commented on it, in hindsight we should have planned an activity to pick up trash as part of the field trip.