Amaze your students with the evolution of the animal kingdom on earth.
Find out how.

Video Previews

To find all of the video clips for each of these eight phyla, click the name below:

Join us on an amazing tour of how animal life evolved on planet earth

These short videos show students of all ages the dramatic rise of the animal kingdom and the astonishing diversity we see on earth today:

  • Stunning animations explain the intricate inner workings of animals’ bodies, demonstrating the complementary relationsigh of form and function.
  • Up-close films show animal behaviors while hunting and feeding in their natural habitats.
  • Scientists, shown at work, study paleontology, genetics and ecology, pursuing their passion for the animals they study.
  • From sponges, to worms, to humans, each phylum is presented in exquisite detail of its body plan and the evolutionary developments that lead to today’s astonishing diversity.
  • Other topics present exciting new developments in genetics, paleontology, and engineering.

All these videos align with the Next Generation Science Standards for grades 5-9 and California 7th grade science standards.

The Shape of Life was originally developed as an eight-part PBS television series highlighting eight phyla.

News from Shape of Life

June Animal of the Month: Staghorn Coral, Swim Free and Thrive!

photo of Staghorn CoralCorals are cnidarians, in the same large family as anemones. There are more than a thousand coral species worldwide, but the best known are the stony corals, like staghorns, which make skeletons of calcium carbonate. What looks like one organism is actually a colony made of tiny coral polyps that look like tiny anemones. Inside each polyp live plant-like cells called zooxanthellae that produce food from sunlight, supplying energy to the coral. In turn, the coral polyp supplies the zooxanthellae with nutrients from the ocean and shelter. It’s these zooxanthellae that are sensitive to the increase in ocean temperatures.

Science teacher Kathryn Buckley talks about the Shape of Life videos

Here's what science teacher Kathryn Buckley had to say about the Shape of Life video series at the NSTA conference in Boston, MA. April 2014. Discover how you can use our high quality materials in your classroom.

Shape of Life is the gift that keeps GIVING to science teachers!

Photo of SoL founder Nancy Burnett with teacher Tim Griffin at NSTA Boston conference

Sure, you've unpacked your NSTA show bag and distributed all the cool geeky giveaways to your kids, spouse and students-- that doesn't mean the party is over. Not by a long-shot.