ALEX Learning Activity


Bioluminescent Sealife

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Ginger Boyd
System:Geneva County
School:Samson Middle School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1689
Bioluminescent Sealife
Digital Tool/Resource:
American Museum of Natural History: Marine Biology - They Glow!
Web Address – URL:

Students will demonstrate their knowledge of animals with bioluminescent characteristics by collaboratively creating a sea animal out of glow in the dark slime. Students will then display their sea animal for the class and explain why their animal uses bioluminescence to survive.  

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
9 ) Examine evidence to support an argument that the internal and external structures of plants (e.g., thorns, leaves, stems, roots, colored petals, xylem, phloem) and animals (e.g., heart, stomach, lung, brain, skin) function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
L4.4: When the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce; others die or move to new locations.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Engage in Argument from Evidence
Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models; Structure and Function
Disciplinary Core Idea: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Argue from evidence to support that the internal and external structures of plants function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
  • Argue from evidence to support that the internal and external structures of animals function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • argue
  • articulate
  • evidence
  • internal
  • external
  • structure
  • survival
  • function
  • behavior
  • reproduction
Students know:
  • Internal and External structures serve specific functions within plants and animals.
  • The functions of internal and external structures can support survival, growth, behavior and/or reproduction in plants and animals.
  • Different structures work together as part of a system to support survival, growth, behavior, and/or reproduction.
Students are able to:
  • Articulate an explanation from evidence explaining how the internal and external structures of plants and animals function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
  • Determine the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence collected, including whether or not it supports a claim about the role of internal and external structures of plants and animals in supporting survival, growth, behavior, and/or reproduction.
  • Use reasoning to connect the relevant and appropriate evidence to support an argument about the function of the internal and external structures of plants and animals.
Students understand that:
  • Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Animal Studies

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.4.9- Identify basic parts of plants and animals.

Arts Education
ARTS (2017)
Grade: 4
Visual Arts
2) Collaboratively design and create artwork that has meaning and purpose.

Examples: Create a logo for a school or activity.

Unpacked Content
Artistic Process: Creating
Anchor Standards:
Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Process Components: Investigate, Plan, Make
Essential Questions:
EU: Artists and designers shape artistic investigations, following or breaking with traditions in pursuit of creative artmaking goals.
EQ: How does knowing the contexts, histories, and traditions of art forms help create works of art and design? Why do artists follow or break from established traditions? How do artists determine what resources and criteria are needed to formulate artistic investigations?
Concepts & Vocabulary:
  • Constructed environment
  • Cultural traditions
  • Digital format
  • Engagement
  • Tertiary color
  • Preservation
  • Proportion
  • Principles of design
    • Unity
  • Shade
  • Style
  • Tints & shades
Skill Examples:
  • Create a list of multiple ideas, sketches, or thumbnail-sketches before beginning the final version of an artwork.
  • Identify, select, and vary art materials, tools and processes to achieve desired results in their artwork.
  • Brainstorm (alone or with others) potential art styles for a given piece of art, such as Monet's Water Lilies.
  • Create an artwork from direct observation (still-life, self-portrait, figure drawing, etc.).
  • Design a two-dimensional drawings of a futuristic art room, town, or planet
  • Use wood, found objects, wire, paper, or clay-based materials to construct a three-dimensional form.
  • Locate business logos in the community and explore the visual arts skills and materials that were used to create these works.
  • Engage in group critiques of one's work and the work of others.
  • Experiment with art materials by using them in unusual and creative ways to express ideas and convey meaning.
  • Use and care for materials, tools, and equipment in a manner that prevents danger to oneself and others.
  • Mix equal parts of a primary and a secondary color located beside each other on the color wheel to create a tertiary color.
  • Use the design principles of repetition and alignment to add visual unity to an artwork.
  • Create a painting using a monochromatic color scheme by using one color (red) adding white to create a tint (a lighter value--pink) and adding black to the color (red) to create a shade (darker value).
Learning Objectives:

Students will collaboratively design and create a three-dimensional sea animal from glow in the dark slime.  Students will describe reasons their sea animal uses bioluminescence to survive.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

This learning activity will work best if used after teaching a lesson on bioluminescence.

Visit the website:  American Museum of Natural History: Marine Biology - They Glow! and read the information under "They Glow" and "Other Glow-in-the-Dark Creatures" together. Visit each of the Ology FlipCards and read the information together. Place students in pairs and distribute the materials to make glow-in-the-dark slime. 

Materials per group of 2 students:

 5 oz. of Elmer's glow-in-the-dark glue

½ tbsp. baking soda 

1 tbsp. contact lens solution


Directions for slime:  Pour the entire bottle of Elmer’s Glow in the Dark Glue into the bowl. Add ½ tbsp. of baking soda and mix thoroughly. Then add 1 tbsp. of contact lens solution. Mix until solution gets thick and slime begins to form. Take out the slime and begin kneading it with both hands. If needed, add another ¼ tbsp. of contact lens solution to make the slime less sticky. Once the slime is ready, students may start creating!  

Students will design and create a sea animal that uses bioluminescence. The sea animals will be on display for the class to view. Students should be able to explain reasons their animal glows in the dark (to find a mate, for food, or to escape predators).

Assessment Strategies:

Students will be assessed based on the completion of a three-dimensional sea animal displayed for the class.  Students will also be assessed based on the ability to describe adequate reasons their animal uses bioluminescence to survive.  

Advanced Preparation:

Teachers need to have a projector and a computer connected to the internet to watch the video.  It might also be helpful to already have the slime prepared in advance in an effort to save time.

Variation Tips (optional):
Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
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