Shape of Life is a series of FREE short classroom videos that beautifully illustrate the evolution of the animal kingdom on planet earth. Based upon an original PBS Series, Shape of Life is especially designed for students and teachers who want a first-hand account of how animals adapt and thrive. The series is NGSS aligned with exquisite focus on diversity, biodiversity, adaptability, body structure, design, behaviors, and the innovative scientists who explore these creatures.
Shape of Life Sneak Peek!
Take a quick glimpse of our FREE NGSS media.
How Shape of Life Helps H.S. Teacher, Greg McBride, Engage Multiple Kinds of Intelligence
When you walk into Greg’s classroom, you feel like you’re walking into a science exploratorium that makes you want to learn about everything, all at once. There is a diverse mixture of all kinds of media that captures and holds the squirreliest of monkey-minds.
When Greg McBride starts off the school year, he requests that each student take an online test that doesn’t measure a students’ intelligence—but, how they are intelligent. “Kids learn at all different levels. When they take this test, they don’t discover ‘if’ they’re smart—they discover how they’re smart!”, said McBride. “Shape of Life’s online resources engage kids on multiple levels with writing, reading, listening, drawing and also by viewing never-before-filmed feeding and habitats of animals. Shape of Life offers students lots of ways for their brains to latch onto pretty nerdy concepts.”
Dr. Crissy Huffard’s broad research interests are to understand how marine animals live their daily lives to survive and reproduce in changing environments. She has worked primarily with cephalopods, doing her Ph.D. research on octopus behavior. Passionate about the ocean, Dr. Huffard worked for several years in marine conservation with Conservation International Indonesia, and as a consultant with the World Wildlife Fund in Washington DC
Currently Dr. Huffard works with Dr. Ken Smith at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute where the lab aims to understand how ecosystems at abyssal depths (on the sea floor 2.5 miles down) change with the amount of food input. Animals at these depths rely entirely on marine snow – organic particles falling from the upper waters of the ocean – for food. That food supply changes any time ocean surface conditions change, such as during El Nino. In addition to working at MBARI, Dr. Huffard is a Research Associate with the California Academy of Sciences where she collaborates with other researchers to study cephalopod behavior, biology, and evolution.
Sea slugs are flatworms that live in marine environments. They are hermaphrodites, meaning they are both male and female. Its advantageous to be a hermaphrodite since the odds of successful reproduction are doubled. What’s the strategy for reproducing if you’re both male and female? It’s complicated. When a pair of sea slugs of the same species meets, each can deliver sperm or receive it for fertilizing eggs internally. There’s a natural conflict since it takes a lot of energy to grow and carry fertilized eggs, so each animal wants to be the male.
Guest Blogger: Natasha Fraley, Researcher and Naturalist
Let’s Fight for Our Planet!
Our last blog by Jane Silberstein revealed the beauty of the coral reefs of Fiji (I wish I had been on that trip!) and how climate change affects those extraordinary reefs.
Jane shared how changing ocean chemistry – ocean acidification – makes it more difficult for corals to build their reefs because they can’t absorb the necessary calcium carbonate. It’s our actions over the last 200 years that have changed the ocean: we have released about two trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And about a quarter of that has been absorbed by the oceans.
Read more about how you can help slow ocean acidification…
A group of passionate marine biologists had a wild dream. We wanted to share with others the incredible diversity of animals that live in the ocean. So we jumped at an opportunity to produce a high quality PBS series about those marine animals we so loved. When all was said and done, this became the dramatic story of the rise of the entire animal kingdom.
After the series aired, we didn’t want those stories sitting on a shelf forgotten. They deserved to be freely available to all interested. Shape of Life was born. When you share something you love, you give it freely. You shouldn’t charge people to watch the greatest show on earth, a show in which we are all an intricate part.