There is no language barrier when I share Shape of Life videos with my students.
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.
Students explore the extraordinary adaptions and diversity of terrestrial arthropods through short Shape of Life videos and student-centered activities. Engage students by showing a short clip of an interesting arthropod phenomenon with the audio muted. Students identify the structures of all arthropods with th esupport of on eor more video segments. Students will record notes about physical and behavioral adaptions, then create a diagram of their favorite arthropod species, labeling its structures and adding annotations to describe their functions.
Time: 45-90 min
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. Options to engage students include showing a short clip of an interesting marine arthropod phenomenon with the audio muted. Then students identify the structures of all arthropods with the support of one or more video segments. Students will record notes about physical and behavioral adaptations, then create a diagram of their favorite marine arthropod species, labeling its structures and adding annotations to describe their functions. Possible Enrich / Extend activities are listed at the end of the lesson, including a design thinking / biomimicry / engineering activity inspired by arthropod adaptations, a comparison activity, and field studies to investigate the arthropods in nearby natural areas -- or even the supermarket.
Time: 45-90 min
“You will never believe this... when you emailed me this morning, I was using Shape of Life in a virtual marine science summer camp that I am leading. I am currently teaching a program called "Something's Fishy" for youth ages 7-9, and your website really came in handy.”
Learn more about Katrina and the herculean task of teaching summer programs in the time of COVID-1
Dr. Cristina Diaz has become famous in marine science circles for being the “sponge scientist” in the video on Shape of Life. Her love of sponges has taken her all over the world as a “freelance” biologist. Cristina says about sponges: "They are beautiful. They're original. They're mysterious. They are hundreds of millions of years old, yet they are still found all over the planet, in every sea."
Glass sponges get their name from their spicules built from silica – glass. Sponges don’t have skeletons like ours; instead they have spicules, which are the structural components like bricks. The glass sponge’s design has intrigued engineers who want to understand how they build glass structures of such strength.
We have so many drugs to help with our aches and pains and illnesses. Where did those drugs come from? Until recently, most of our early drugs were derived from plants. When scientists search for possible useful products from plants, animals and microorganisms it’s called bioprospecting. In recent decades, marine scientists have been looking at natural compounds from the immense diversity of marine animals as a source of potential new medicines.
By Nancy Burnett and Natasha Fraley
When the Going Gets Tough, (Science) Teachers Get GOING!
I marvel at science teachers on any given day, but their adaptability when COVID 19 first struck - spinning us into the multilayered spiral of anxiety- has me gobsmacked.
By Denise Ryan
“Darwin's Paradox” asks how productive and diverse ecosystems like coral reefs thrive in the ocean equivalent of a desert with few nutrients.
The answer is sponges. Sponges are key components of coral reefs worldwide. They provide nutrients to reef organisms in what scientists call the “sponge loop.” In 2013 scientists discovered that sponges living on coral reefs are part of a highly efficient recycling loop for dissolved organic matter (DOM) shed by algae and corals.
“The largest source of energy and nutrients produced on the reef consist of things you cannot see,” said Jasper M. de Goeij, a marine biologist at the University of Amsterdam. “And no one else but sponges can make use of that source.”
As sponges pump huge amounts of water through their bodies, they absorb DOM, converting it into cellular waste that becomes food for reef consumers. Coral reef ecosystems could not thrive without sponges.
“If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”
Of the 2200 species in five insect orders tracked by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, nearly half are declining. Scientists worldwide are sounding the alarm and point to a confluence of causes: habitat loss, pesticides and climate change.
Here’s what you can do to help: SIGN Pollinator Protection Pledge