We don’t have very many blue crabs here in Illinois, but in Maryland they are a major product and a Maryland tradition.
Read this short article for kids to learn more about the fascinating blue crab!
Next, watch this short video to learn about how crabs go from the sea to our table.
Many people love to eat crab, but what do crabs eat? Watch this video from National Geographic to see how a crab eats a clam for lunch! Scroll down and watch the video! https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/b/blue-crab/
Now try to make your own crab! Follow the directions here to make a rocking crab from a paper plate!
Learn more about Maryland Agriculture here: https://agclassroom.org/teacher/stats/maryland.pdf
What do you think of when you think of cranberries? Cranberry juice? Cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving time? Cranberries are an important crop in Massachusetts. Cranberries grown there are made into 1,000 different products! Many of the cranberry products you see in the store are Ocean Spray brand. This company is actually a cooperative of over 700 cranberry growers who work together to market their crops. Learn more about the cooperative and how cranberries are grown by watching this quick video:
To learn even more about how cranberries are grown, check out this video:
Cranberries are harvested by flooding the bogs in which they’re grown. Because the berries have air pockets inside them, they float to the surface and then are easier to harvest. You can learn more about why some things float and some things sink by doing this fun experiment at home.
Learn more about Massachusetts agriculture here: https://agclassroom.org/teacher/stats/massachusetts.pdf
What items do you have around your house that you could use to make your own crab? Research the parts of a crab and then get creative! Try to make an accurate model of a crab using recycled materials you have at home.
Something for Everyone:
Being stuck at home so much is likely to make many of us “crabby.” Take a break from your usual “crabs” to have a moment with a REAL CRAB!
Assessment and Extended Response:
- What is the typical lifespan of a blue crab? (1-3 years)
- How many eggs can a female blue crab produce in just one brood? (2 million)
- What do blue crabs eat? (mussels, snails, fish, plants, and even carrion and smaller blue crabs)
*Unlike many of the things we eat, blue crabs are not “farmed”. They are wild animals that are harvested from the ocean. With this in mind, what kinds of things do blue crab fishermen need to do to make sure there continue to be enough blue crabs to harvest?
- How many cans of cranberry sauce are made with Ocean Spray cranberries each year? (88 million)
- How many farmers are part of the Ocean Spray cooperative? (over 700)
- How do farmers harvest their cranberries? (by flooding their fields and then sucking up the cranberries onto trucks to be transported)
*In a farming cooperative, farmers have their own farms but work closely with other farms to sell what they grow. Can you think of some reasons why being part of a cooperative would be a good idea for a farmer?