Shape of Life offers classroom videos depicting the evolution of the animal kingdom on planet earth. Students and educators from all over the world explore animal adaptation, animations, and behaviors along with the amazing scientists who bring their stories to life. We also offer a rich selection of NGSS materials including lesson plans, readings, illustrations and activities that inspire a deeper dive into the phyla that explain so much of our existence. Shape of Life content is FREE to students and educators all over the world.
A Small Taste of Shape of Life Videos
The Miraculous Octopus
New Featured Content
This month we celebrate summer fun and ocean health with great new content for you.
New Featured Teacher
Discover the creative and passionate world of science and environmental teaching with Lacey Moore.
New Featured Scientist
Learn about the interesting journey of a Missouri born kid turned surfer and eventual Sr. Scientist, Dr. James Barry, whose work emphasizes the influence of climate change, including global warming and rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, on ocean animals and ecosystems.
New Featured Creature
Explore the amazing Coral Reef Ecosystem which is comprised of tiny, delicate animals who provide endless habitats for a myriad of other ocean life.
Shape of Life Blog
Ocean Acidification, a result of 200 years of human-released carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is slowly making the ocean sick. Is it too late to reverse this damage?
Lacey Moore has worked and played outside all her life. As an adventure travel guide Lacey enjoyed the physical engagement of being outside backpacking and kayaking in the Pacific Northwest- “but, my favorite part was sharing the science behind the natural world with people of all ages. I believe it lends greater depth to the outdoor experience,” says Lacey.
Behind Every Great Scientist is a Teacher with a Strong Message
How does a kid from Missouri become an award-winning scientist who specializes in animals living in the bottom of the ocean? “It wasn’t until I was in community college that I was jolted into actually applying myself. I had a teacher who told me I ‘made him sick’ because I got decent grades with such little effort”, chuckled Jim. “I mean, he had a point. I was basically surfing and goofing off.”
Jim applied himself all the way to his PhD from Scripps Institute of Oceanography and today instills a natural curiosity about the ocean with his engaging presence.
Believe it or not, millions of tiny delicate coral animals create the enormous coral reefs that can even be seen from outer space. The coral polyps (cnidarians related to anemones and jellies) live in a colony. Together they build a mineral skeleton from calcium carbonate, which creates a complicated reef structure with a myriad of shapes and sizes.
Coral structures provide endless habitats for other animals to live. It’s impossible to talk about corals without talking about the entire reef ecosystem. Coral reefs are the most diverse of any marine ecosystem, often referred to as the rainforests of the sea. A quarter of all marine species depend on coral reefs for food or shelter, or both.
This collection consists of six lesson plans designed to help students construct an explanation of the geologic time scale based on personal connections, science concepts that include Law of Superposition and index fossils and nature of science ideas. The lessons highlight a diversity of scientists and geologic sites that complement Shape of Life videos.
A variety of modalities are engaged that encourage shared exploration with peers. Students go outside and observe the schoolyard, watch videos, create a “geologic site in a cup,” utilize technology for geologic time scale interpretations, work in small groups and participate in whole class discussions throughout the lessons.
Your students will ROCK these lessons!
We’ve all heard that coral reefs are under threat from climate change. We’ve seen the devastating photos of coral bleaching: rising ocean temperatures cause these catastrophic events. As if a warming ocean wasn’t enough, the corals are facing another hazard. Over the last 200 years, humans have released about two trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; about of a quarter of that has entered the ocean. All this carbon dioxide is slowly making the ocean more acidic – called ocean acidification.
There’s a whole universe of life in the ocean we can’t see – thousands of tiny animals make up the zooplankton. Animals we commonly see in tidepools, and sometimes on our plates, begin their lives drifting in plankton. Planktonic larval stage in life gives species a way to disperse. The larvae develop while adrift at sea, often going through many stages before reaching adult body form.