What are these shells?

slipper_limpet_shells

We visited Bournemouth at the end of October and my daughter and nephew found these unusual-looking shells on the beach. They brought them to show me and asked if I knew what they were.

From the top, they looked like several shells stuck together but, from underneath, they looked like a single creature. They were quite heavy and I could see something dark and squidgy inside, so I knew there were creatures living in the shells. But I had never seen anything like this before (even though I used to live near the sea)!

We put them back where we found them and I promised to find out more about them when we got home. So, what are these shells and why do they look so unusual?

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How tall is an apple tree?

apple_orchard

There is a small community orchard close to where we live. Each summer, we watch the apple flowers blossom and wait for the fruit to grow. Then, in early September we pick a few of the low-hanging apples to see how they taste. This year, they tasted good!

But the trees in the orchard are quite tall and it can be tricky to reach the apples. Often, the children have to sit on our shoulders to reach up into the branches to get the fruit.

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Why do bees like pollen?

bee_flower_pollination

Bees visit flowers to collect nectar and pollen which they use to make honey as a food. As bees fly around from plant to plant they pick up and drop off pollen between the flowers. This is a really important job in nature because moving pollen between flowers helps plants to reproduce (make new plants) through a process called pollination. If bees didn’t do this, then certain types of plants wouldn’t be able to make seeds.

So let’s find out more about how the lifecycles of bees and flowers work together…

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How are jellyfish born?

Jellyfish are weird, jelly-like animals with lots of tentacles but no brain or bones or heart or blood! Look at this compass jellyfish my nephews found when they were exploring the rockpools at the beach in Falmouth during the Summer holidays:

compass-jellyfish-falmouth

So, when I was asked a question about how jellyfish reproduce (make babies) and how they die, I just had to find out the answers…

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How does a seed know what to grow into?

Seeds come in different shapes and sizes but how do they know what kind of plant to grow into? The answer to this fantastic question about plants actually tells us about how all life on Earth works.

flower

Inside all living creatures there is information that tells their bodies how to grow, develop and work. But what is this information and how does it create life?

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