Porifera, meaning ‘pore bearer’ in latin, is a multi-cellular animal with a very basic structure. Students observe its unique filter feeding system driven by flagella. Due to this feeding system, the sponge does an amazing job at cleaning and filtering our marine water. This animal has no circulatory, respiratory, or digestive system which leads the children to discover why it is classified in the animal kingdom. It takes in energy and also has a modified reproductive system. Because it is sessile, which means it does not move during its adult life, it has adapted to be a hermaphrodite. The students study the three different types of reproduction that occurs with the sponge.
In this lab, the students are collecting data on which sponge has the ability to absorb and hold more water; the natural sponge from the animal or the synthetic man made sponge. Most of the students supported their hypothesis when the analysis showed the spicule system of the natural sponge had the ability to hold more water than the synthetic.