The past few weeks we’ve been learning about Mollusks and Echinoderms with R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey – Life. As always, I learned tons along with my daughter. Echinoderm comes from Latin and means “spiny-skinned”. I’m so glad we are studying Latin, it comes in so handy when figuring out words.

Today we used a banana to demonstrate echinoderms. Satori is forming a sea urchin below.

An extra info page gives us more information about echinoderms. Here’s where we learned they all have five major muscles. In most sea stars this is very obvious, but in not so obvious in sea cucumbers and urchins. With an urchin, the muscles fold back up and join at the top, like in Satori’s banana peel above. The mouth is on the bottom and has five parts.


For sea cucumbers, the muscles run along its body.

After we read the included pages on echinoderms, we supplemented with books and videos. Here Satori is watching a video on echinoderms from Discovery Education Streaming.

Last week we learned about mollusks. Now for RSO – Life you are supposed to keep several creatures as pets, such as earthworms, snails, roly-polies, and butterflies. We will not be doing so, so that’s why we’re supplementing with so many books and videos. So far, it’s been working out just fine!

Instead of keeping a snail, which I doubt we’d find in our area right now under the snow, we learned as much as we could about snails. Since snails are mollusks, as well as octopus, clams, squid, and oysters, they have a lab where we find the similarities between these very different creatures. The first page was a graph we filled out that compared a snail to a clam, oyster, sea jelly, earthworm, and beetle. Here’s the second page where we conclude that snails are most like the clams and oysters in the mollusk group.

Second lab was examining snail parts and labeling the diagram. By this time, we were familiar enough with snails to fill out the anatomy page.

The next month we’ll be learning all about arthropods. However, due to a trip to the Grand Canyon that we’ll be taking in May, we may simultaneously add in R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey – Earth and Space as well. I’ve heard great things about it, so we look forward to digging in!