Lesson Plans

Shape of Life Developed Lesson Plans

There are several types of scientists represented in the Shape of Life scientist videos. This lesson will require students to do a report on distinct scientific fields using the videos, Internet resources and the handout about “Cool Science Careers”. Learning about the different science disciplines can help students see the connection between what they learn in the classroom and what goes on in the enterprise of science.

After watching the nine phyla videos, students make a case for the most awesome invertebrate by presenting a verbal argument and creating a flyer.  At the end of the lesson, students will be amazed by the diversity of invertebrates and their special adaptations.

Through teacher-led discussion, students try to define what makes an organism an animal. This discussion should lead students too think about what all animals have in common. After watching the video Sponges: Origins and filling out a worksheet (page 3-4), the class reconsiders the definition of an animal.

The teacher introduces the topic by asking the students what group of animals they think may have been the first. Through questioning, discussion, and observing two videos, students evaluate the evidence that supports which group was the first to appear on Earth.

The teacher leads the class in a discussion of what animal may have been the first to hunt.  In considering the types of evidence they might need, they have a discussion of fossilized tracks and traces. Students write their ideas in notebooks, watch two videos and fill out a worksheet.

In this lesson students will assess evolutionary links and evidence from comparative analysis of the fossil record and modern day organisms. Using the information about the Cambrian Explosion, they explore theories about how and why organisms diversified then hypothesize what evidence might be helpful to connect fossil organisms to modern organisms to show evolutionary connections. This lesson plan incorporates three videos from our website.

The lesson was created by Tucker Hirsch of THinc Green

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. The class as a whole discusses how specific animals have solved an engineering problem. Then, in groups, students consider how humans have solved similar problems and they record and draw their examples on a worksheet.

Molluscan Macroevolution Module

Through a sequence of engaging laboratory investigations, coupled with segments from the  Shape of Life video, students study molluscs in the here-and-now and also learn to view them as products of a 550 million year evolution.

A brief hands-on investigation of Gastropods –snails and slugs – includes observation of the bodies and behavior of live slugs or snails and video segments.

We provide both high school and middle school versions of this lesson. The instructor's guide applies to both versions.

Students study the beautiful shells of gastropods not as objects of beauty but as artifacts born of an evolutionary arms race. This is a hands-on activity with shells, and written analysis interpreting the fossil record.

We provide both high school and middle school versions of this lesson. 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.

We provide both high school and middle school versions of this lesson. 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.

We provide both high school and middle school versions of this lesson. 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.

We provide both high school and middle school versions of this lesson. The instructor's guide applies to both versions.

Community Generated Lesson Plans

This lesson, created by Stephen Hine, consists of a cross disciplinary activity incorporating aspects of wave characteristics from Physics, movement traits from Biology, and evaluating locomotion design from Engineering.

Evolution is the process of change in species, such as how echinoderms changed over time. Evolution of the echinoderms explains why this phylum has 7,000 types.

Concept Development: Evolution is the “change in an animal species over time.” A scientist named Charles Darwin believed what drove evolution is “natural selection.” Natural selection is a process where individuals with traits that are better suited to the environment in which they live, are more likely to survive longer and reproduce. In the video Molluscs: The Survival Game, you will see that molluscs have “descended with modification” to create a very diverse group of modern species.

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