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.
Brittany Basse, Middle School Teacher, Baychester Middle School, Bronx, NYC
Brittany Basse, teaches eighth grade Science and Humanities at Baychester Middle School in the Bronx, New York City. The layers of challenges echo in her title alone – yet her candor, direct approach, honesty, and an unpolished sense of humor make it clear why she does not just survive but thrives in a teaching environment where turnover rates and morale are often in stark contrast.
Senior Scientist, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Following Her Passion -- A Really Sound Decision
A little girl from Connecticut takes a trip to Sea World. She is captivated by the killer whales and dolphins. Especially the sounds they make and its role in marine life survival. From that point on, Kelly knew she would make a career out of the sounds in the ocean. As a fourth grader, Kelly wasn’t exactly sure how she would do this-- but, boy oh boy, she figured it out.
Marine flatworms can dazzle with wild colors and patterns – if you’re lucky enough to see one. They live from the intertidal to tropical coral reefs to deep water. The free-living flatworms (polyclads) have thin, almost leaf-like bodies and move with a gliding motion. Their ancestors were some of the first bilateral animals, and being bilateral gives them a body plan designed for an active life style.
At Shape of Life, we call the flatworm phyla video "First Hunter," and indeed these animals are active carnivorous predators that feed on a wide variety of animals including copepods, isopods, limpets, barnacles, tunicates, and bryozoans.
Learn the distinguishing features of each phyla.
Grade Level: 4 - 8
Subject: Animal Classification
Activity Type: Watch Shape of Life videos and PLAY CARDS!
By Tierney Thys
This week, a series of large winter storms delivered hundreds of strange rocks riddled with perfectly smooth drill holes. A treasure trove to curious beachcombers, begs the question, “Who or what made all those holes?!”
The holes are the work of industrious molluscs called piddock clams or, more commonly, boring clams. Some 16 different species of not-so-boring clams call Monterey Bay home
When the Shape of Life team was in Long Beach for the National Marine Educators conference, we visited the Aquarium of the Pacific. We were admiring a giant clam when a guide heard us and said that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had confiscated this clam, as well as some others, as they were coming into the U.S. illegally. Sadly, FWS often confiscates fresh and saltwater fish and invertebrates from all over the world when they come into the U.S., mainly for the illegal pet trade. Aquariums have stepped in to help; here are some examples.
Giant clam Tridacna gigas on a coral reef
A special THANK YOU to Erin Rempala, Professor of Biological Sciences, Chair Life Sciences Department at San Diego City College for helping to make this happen!
To enable closed captioning, please click on the small CC in the bottom right of the video controls. The CC will appear on videos where closed captioning is available.