Lesson of the Day: ‘The Creepy Anglerfish Comes to Light. (Just Don’t Get Too Close.)’

Lesson of the Day: ‘The Creepy Anglerfish Comes to Light. (Just Don’t Get Too Close.)’

5. The author uses words like “exotic,” “ghoulish,” “demonic,” and “nightmarish” to describe the anglerfish’s appearance. How would you describe it? Which feature of this fish’s anatomy or behavior is most remarkable to you and why?

6. The article concludes:

Water covers more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface and goes down miles; all told, the global sea accounts for 99 percent of the terrestrial biosphere.

“There’s a whole world of ocean out there,” Dr. Robison said. “And most of it is unexplored.”

What would you most like to study about the mysteries of earth’s oceans? And why? What questions about the anglerfish do you still have? How can our understanding of the mysterious and strange anglerfish help us understand all living things — including ourselves?

Design and create an imaginary organism to survive in an extreme environment. Your life-form can be big or small (even microscopic), realistic or fantastical. Be creative, and don’t feel you have to model your new organism on more commonplace animals you might see daily.

First, pick an extreme environment — arctic, desert, deep ocean, dark side of the moon or the top of Mount Everest, for example. Then, conduct some research on the challenges this environment poses for living things. Write down at least five major obstacles.

Next, brainstorm and design a creature that would best survive that extreme environment. As with all living things, food, shelter, defense and reproduction are critical to the survival of the species. Will it have sharp teeth or no teeth at all? Will it have big eyes for seeing in the dark like owls, or will it come with its own built-in light like the anglerfish?

As you create, keep in mind two important aspects of any biological organism: structure and function.

  • Structure refers to something’s form, makeup or arrangement — or “what it is.”

  • Function refers to something’s role or responsibility — or “what it does.”

Feel free to draw or borrow from what you already know about how species adapt to their environments (for example, how fennec foxes have long ears to release excess body heat in the hot desert, or how the fur of a snowshoe hare helps to camouflage it from predators by turning white in winter to blend in with the snow).

Finally, describe your organism using vivid language. (You can also draw it, if you are feeling ambitious.) Make sure to explain how its key features or structures will allow it to best adapt to its challenging environment. For your description, as in the warm up, try to use detailed, descriptive language. Use the opening two paragraphs of the article as a model text.