My name is Heidi Bordeleau. I am originally from Austria, but have lived in Missouri with my husband and son for 10 years. I teach at Mark Twain High School in Center, Missouri and this is my second year teaching. I love teaching science because the content is applicable to the lives of all students. I'm a huge science nerd and I love being able to pass my excitement on to the students.
This is my first year of teaching Biology II, so this is the first time I have used the Shape of Life content. The way I have set this class up is that we start with a review of Evolutionary Theory and the history of life on earth. Then we work our way through organisms that exemplify these transitions. We first learn about bacteria, then protists, then the invertebrates, and finally vertebrates. We cover each of the major invertebrate phyla in order of their inferred evolutionary history. This is where SoL was such an amazing resource. I introduced each of the invertebrate phyla by showing the corresponding SoL videos. The videos do a great job of illustrating and explaining the important adaptations found in each invertebrate group. But, most importantly, they truly capture students interests in these often obscure organisms. Starting out, many students don't even realize that things like sponges or sea anemones are animals. Seeing them come to life on screen is transformative to their understanding and appreciation of these creatures. One of my favorite moments came when I showed the video "Cnidarians: Life on the Move". There is a scene where the cnidarian stomphia comes under attack by a sea star. Students were so shocked and surprised to see stomphia suddenly hopping away, they almost jumped out of their seats!
SoL is an awesome resources that I highly recommend to all biology teachers! The short videos are packed with great content, and are a wonderful way to get students to want to learn more about these organisms. Once you have seen this beautiful sequence from the Porifera all the way to the Echinoderms, it is hard not to have a huge appreciation for the amazing process of evolution. I personally have only used the videos, but more resources are constantly being added to the SoL website, that I'm sure are worth checking out.
One thing I am hoping to see on your website is a video about the phylum Nematoda.
Please find a picture of me surrounded by some of my Biology II class attached. (I'm wearing the blue Mark Twain shirt).