Investigate Mysterious Creatures

Part of the Mythic Creatures exhibition.


Today, there are millions of described species on Earth. Technologies such as video and DNA analysis are helping scientists identify new species in remote locations around the world. Still, some legendary creatures such as the giant squid continue to present an observational challenge to scientists.

Students will:

  • explore how scientists conduct investigations and present findings
  • examine the evidence that scientists have gathered about the giant squid
  • devise a plan to further their investigation of the giant squid

Time Frame
Two periods


Prior Knowledge

  1. Ask students what they know about the giant squid. Share that the giant squid has been considered a mysterious deep-ocean creature for many centuries. As early as 500 years ago, Scandinavian sailors described giant squids as monsters with snakelike arms covered with suckers for grabbing prey.
  2. Ask students to brainstorm how scientists might study something they cannot easily observe.
  3. Tell students that they will investigate the giant squid mystery in an online activity.


  1. Have students visit Investigate the Giant Squid: Mysterious Cephalopod of the Sea. This online activity features the research of Dr. Neil Landman, a giant squid expert at the American Museum of Natural History.
  2. Ask students to watch the introduction, then explore four methods scientists use to study the squid in the “The Giant Quest” section. Have students take notes on the questions that still remain about this creature.
  3. When they are done exploring the four methods, have them click on the “Take Action!” button on the left of the screen. Have them review their notes, select one mystery to focus on, then devise a research plan to investigate this mystery.


  1. Have students share their investigation plan with the class.



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