Shape of Life provides an excellent means of showing my students just how diverse the living world is.
Shape of Life offers classroom media and resources depicting the evolution of the animal kingdom on planet earth. Explore animal adaptation, animations, and behaviors along with the amazing scientists who bring their stories to life. Discover a rich selection of NGSS materials including lesson plans, readings, illustrations and activities that inspire a deeper dive into animal phyla. Shape of Life content is FREE to students and educators all over the world.
Be the Early Bird and Check Out the WORMS!
Students explore the extraordinary adaptations and diversity of marine arthropods through short Shape of Life videos and student-centered activities in the 5E Instructional Model.
- Students will describe marine arthropod adaptations orally and in writing
- Students will create labeled diagrams of a marine arthropod species of their choice
- If the design process / engineering extension is completed, students will develop and construct a design for a useful invention inspired by one or more arthropod adaptations
- If the comparison extension is completed, students will compare adaptations of a marine arthropod species to those of another animal.
In this lesson, students engage in the practice of science. They observe behaviors using Shape of Life videos with the audio and closed captioning turned off. They try to figure out what the phenomenon (the behavior) is and how it might help the organism to survive. Working in pairs they make a hypothesis about what they are observing with evidence to support their hypothesis.
We first heard of Nancy through an interview with our Featured Scientist, George Matsumoto, at MBARI. Nancy, George told us “is a standout educator” who participated in MBARI’s EARTH professional development program.
When George showed us the lesson plan and accompanying book based upon Nancy’s collaboration with artist Jill Pelto, our jaws dropped!
"When I travel to annelid biology conferences around the world, there is usually someone who asks to take a selfie with me so that they can show their students back home that they met the Worm Woman from the Shape of Life Annelid episode!"
The giant hydrothermal vent tubeworms aren’t called “extremophiles” (they live in extreme environments) for no reason. Colonies of these tubeworms live on hydrothermal vents spewing hot, mineral-rich water that, in some places, can reach an astounding 350 degrees Celsius (660 degrees Fahrenheit).
Imagine being half way across the Pacific ocean on a tiny island with two million birds. That’s what I did in February just before the world locked down and the atoll closed to visitors. We were so lucky to have the chance to visit this amazing place. It was a chance in a life time for me, and what a memory I now have as I sequester at home!
By Nancy Burnett, Founder of Shape of Life
I’ve been hanging out with my honeybees a lot lately. There are many reasons for this, including:
- Hives are swarming like gangbusters in our neighborhood. Due to our magnificent spring season hives have expanded beyond their ‘crib’ and need more room for new queens, brood and food (pollen). (By the way, don’t freak out when you see honeybees swarm).
- I’ve been beekeeping for almost nine years and remain a novice about beekeeping and these incredible creatures. I never tire of watching them. Each of my three hives have their own personality.
- Spring is the busiest time of year for beekeepers. It’s especially important we keep their hives healthy and safe to sustain a fruitful summer and comfortable fall and winter.
By Denise Ryan
In 1861 artist Frederic Church traveled to the Arctic to create art of the icy world and the above image is what he saw.
Ever want to touch an iceberg? Ice Watch harvested free-floating icebergs from Greenland bringing them to the streets of London where people could see, feel and experience these giants melting.
Art reveals visuals of environmental history and heightens the understanding of our climate crisis. Spanning 200 years Vanishing Ice presents “the importance of alpine and polar landscapes in Western art, it seeks to inspire a personal connection to these regions along with an active commitment to their preservation.”
Here at Shape of Life, we’re scientists and all about communicating science. In this time of the pandemic, we wish everyone knew that science is not an opinion. Dr. de Menocal, the Director of the Center for Climate and Life at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, said in an article, “The laws of nature don’t care whether we believe in them or not. …. We have to remember the big lesson from this pandemic: science saves lives.” We hope this crisis underscores the value of science – without it, we can’t make well-informed decisions.