Crayfish/Crawdads/Crawfish

I hope this big monster doesn’t scare you away from the post! LOL! We had the best time today at our first Nature Adventure of the 2020-2021 school year! Our theme this month is Tennessee Crayfish. In researching this animal, I found so many interesting facts that I had never thought or read about before!

In the additional links at the bottom of the page I’ve listed the websites that I used to gather the information for today’s class. In Tennessee, we have 78 different crayfish species throughout our fresh waters. Today, we found at least three different species in the creek at Jerry Erwin Park. The picture I posted at the top was an amazing find by Judah! While I was helping students with their nature journals, he ran up and said “Look what I caught!!!” It was such an exciting moment for all the kids and parents!

In our nature journaling, I really have enjoyed the format of giving easy drawing tips while sharing the interesting information. For example, the details I shared today: Crayfish are part of the crustacean family. Body is in three sections: Head/Thorax/Abdomen but the Head and Thorax are really a “cephalothorax” with a “carapace” shell protecting the animal. The claws are called “cheliped” and are considered one of the pairs of legs. The other 8 legs are the walking legs and under the abdomen you can find the “swimmerets.” The tail at the end of the abdomen is called the “uropod.” The eyes are compound on eyestalks. We also noticed how many antennae our crayfish had. There are always 2 long antennae and 2 short, but near the short antennae most crayfish had other feelers at the head.

The catching of the crayfish was the highlight of the day! Lara told me about using “bait” to lure them out from under their rocks and it worked like magic! Each student was given a section of hotdog bait, a paper clip, and a string of yarn. We spent a good 30-45 minutes in the creek so everyone could catch a crayfish and bring back to their blanket for nature journaling time.

I love when my kids don’t want to leave nature. We arrived at the park at 9:30am and didn’t leave until 2pm. After the lesson they just wanted to spend all day seeing how many crayfish they could catch and release and were always on the hunt for the elusive giant crayfish!

For those of you who like an outline of the lesson/day, here’s how the adventure flowed:

LESSON PLAN:

Gathering Song
*Walk to the creek
*Brief introduction to finding and catching crayfish! Spend 30-45 minutes catching them!
*Nature journal time. Encourage students to draw from what they see, but also give drawing prompts to teach the anatomy of the animal.


* Thanksgiving Song

Many students stayed even longer to keep playing in the creek and enjoy the cool water on a hot day!

On a side note, I loved seeing everyone in our Nature Adventure t-shirts! Even the 2T size is absolutely adorable! If you plan to come out to our adventures you can order on Amazon here!

I am looking forward to next month! If you have a theme request let me know!

To see the rest of our nature dates and sign up to attend click here!

Additional links:

https://bittersoutherner.com/folklore-project/2020/crawdads-crayfish-or-crawfish-brandon-britton

https://www.inaturalist.org/guides/8417 (we’re close to Alabama so we’ll probably have similar species)

https://www.nashvillezoo.org/crayfish-conservationhttps://www.nps.gov/obed/learn/nature/upload/Obed-crayfish-revised.pdf

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2012/obey-crayfish-07-24-2012.html

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