Will Wonder's Never Cease? Flying Squid

article by Zoe Disher , Photo by Alamy

Learning Intention:  

I am building my understanding of technical information so that I can apply it to other ideas. 

Success Criteria: 

  • I can identify technical information in an informative text 
  • I can apply this information to my own design 
  • I can explain how my design works in a way that relates to the text 


After reading the article, watch the Ted Ed video These Squids Can Fly…no, really. Discuss the facts presented in the article and video that explain how flying squids are able to use jet propulsion to shoot into the air like a rocket. Ask students to recall as many of these facts as possible. These should include: 

  • The outside of a squid’s body is a tube of muscle called a mantle 
  • Water enters the mantle and the muscles then shut, trapping the water 
  • Squids shoot the water through the base of their body like a jet 
  • Squid gills inside the mantle take oxygen from the water 
  • They use the air and water to move quickly and even break through the ocean’s surface 
  • Squids use their tentacles as wing like structures by spreading them 
  • They open and close their fins to glide through the air or dip back into the ocean 

Instruct students that they are to design their own rocket based on the flying squid. They should consider what materials they would use to build it and how it would function. Encourage them to be as creative as possible. Students should draw a design of their rocket and label the different parts. They should also write a paragraph explaining how it works. 

For example: 

My rocket takes off from a launchpad on the ocean floor. As it rises to the surface, its rubber top fills with water. A mechanism inside traps the water and filters it down through titanium pipes, then shoots a jetstream through the base. This propels it out of the water. It has wings shaped like tentacles that spread when the air hits the rocket’s sensors, and fins that open and close when the rocket wants to fly or land.