Lesson Plans

Shape of Life Developed Lesson Plans

Students can get the 'real scoop' on what it's like to be a scientist. They analyze the approaches of two different scientists to understand how they use the “Three-Dimensional” practices and concepts described in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

This lesson requires students to do a report on distinct scientific fields using Shape of Life videos, Internet resources and a handout about “Cool Science Careers”.

 

After watching the nine phyla videos, students make a case for the most awesome invertebrate by presenting a verbal argument and creating a flyer. 

Through teacher-led discussion, students try to define what makes an organism an animal. This discussion should lead students to think about what all animals have in common.

Through questions, discussion and observing two videos, students evaluate the evidence for which group of animals was the first to appear on Earth.

Students consider the types of evidence they might need to determine what animal may have been the first to hunt. Then they watch a scientist try to find that evidence. 

 

Students assess evolutionary links and evidence from comparative analysis of the fossil record and modern day organisms.

In this lesson, the class will investigate how, through the process of evolution, animals have solved their engineering problems and how people have mimicked those natural solutions.

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 and nature of science ideas.

In this lesson students engage in the practice of science by observing behaviors using Shape of Life videos with the audio and closed captioning turned off.

In this lesson, students will watch the video about the Cambrian Explosion and the extraordinary fossils of the Burgess Shale. Students will understand the significance of the Burgess Shale fauna in the history of life on Earth.

Through cutting-edge scientific research, students are introduced to climate change’s effects on the intertidal (ocean acidification and temperature increase) and what is known about how ocean organisms are impacted.

In this lesson plan students explore the origins of muscles, nerves and other adaptations through a study of the phylum Cnidaria.

In this lesson, students will address misconceptions about phylogenetic trees before completing a modeling activity to give them a better understanding of how trees are used to model evolutionary relationships.

Students explore the evolution of the phylum Chordata by constructing a "family tree" – a diagram of evolutionary traits and animals.

In this activity students explore how animals are classified. Students will learn the characteristics that define five of the major invertebrate phyla by watching videos, reading and sorting animal cards.

Students explore the extraordinary adaptions and diversity of terrestrial arthropods through short Shape of Life videos and student-centered activities in the 5E Instructional Model.

Molluscan Macroevolution Module

Through a sequence of “explore-before-explain” laboratory investigations, coupled with segments from the Shape of Life videos, students study molluscs in the present and their long  evolutionary history. The module includes those listed below, which can also stand alone.

This brief hands-on investigation of Gastropods –snails and slugs – includes observation of the bodies and behavior of live slugs or snails and video segments. Both high school and middle school versions are provided. The instructor's guide applies to both versions.

In this hands-on activity, students study the beautiful shells not as objects of beauty but as artifacts born of an evolutionary arms race. Both high school and middle school versions are provided. The instructor's guide applies to both versions

A lab dissection using mussels and supported by several Shape of Life segments: students interpret bivalve adaptations as a radical case of divergent evolution.

Both high school and middle school versions are provided. The instructor's guide applies to both versions.

A lab dissection using oysters and supported by several Shape of Life segments: students interpret bivalve adaptations as a radical case of divergent evolution.

Both high school and middle school versions are provided. The instructor's guide applies to both versions.

Lab dissection of a squid supported by several Shape of Life segments: students interpret squid adaptations as a radical case of divergent evolution.

Both high school and middle school versions are provided. The instructor's guide applies to both versions.

Community Generated Lesson Plans

In this lesson, students combine art and science to interpret and illustrate graphical art. In this way, students will building understanding of the power of data infused art to convey the "bigger picture" of climate change.

"Hot issues such as climate change may not be the subjects of contention within the scientific community, but it seems clear that the science is not being communicated in a way that has the necessary impact. Although art cannot directly communicate science or change minds, it can create a space for dialogue around difficult issues" - Kieniewicz

This lesson is a cross disciplinary activity incorporating aspects of wave characteristics from Physics, movement traits from Biology, and evaluating locomotion design from Engineering. (Evaluating how the movement wavelength of various animals relates to relative speed)

Students answer questions based on the video Echinoderms: the Ultimate Animal with an emphasis on the evolution of the different echinoderm forms.

Students answer questions based on the video Annelids: Powerful and Capable Worms with an emphasis on understanding adaptations.

 

Carl Linnaeus
In this lesson, students will be introduced to the concept of taxonomy, and categorization of organisms based on Carl Linnaeus’s system of classification.

 In this lesson the class explores making better food choices for our environment through developing an understanding of the relative carbon footprints of common foods.

Students answer questions based on the video Cnidarians: Life On the Move