Eric Crandall
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Pam Strong

Class Aquarium
The class aquarium

Project STAMP
GK-12 Zoology
at Chelsea High School
Eric Crandall
Pam Strong
This class was the result of a collaboration between myself and Pam Strong, a biology teacher at Chelsea High School.  I was able to apply my training as a naturalist and biologist to help Pam create a brand new curriculum in zoology - the study of animals.  The curriculum followed the pattern of a classical undergraduate zoology class, beginning with classification and basic phylogenetics, then moving through units on each 9 of the major phyla, and ending with a unit on ecology and evolution.  For many units, I created an introductory slide presentation.  Pam and I then collaborated on engaging activities or dissections to get the students involved in the material.  The students were required to complete a written report on one species from each phylum.

Highlights of the class included a field trip to the New England Aquarium, several award winning science fair projects at the Chelsea Science Fair (including best group project), and an in-class aquarium containing tropical freshwater fish leopard frog tadpoles, and adult African clawed frogs.  The class will be expanded to three sections next year due to its popularity.

Below you will find a cladogram of the major phyla covered in the class.  Click on any phylum name to go to relevant lessons and assignments.

Aurelia aurita
Aurelia aurita - Moon Jellies

Picasso Triggerfish

Myrtle the turtle
Myrtle the turtle

Bufo marinus
Bufo marinus with eggs
General Bio
Metazoan Phylogeny

I relied heavily on some of the following web pages and books in the creation of lectures and lessons below - all of them are excellent sources of information on zoology:
Tree of Life Web Project
The University of California Museum of Paleontology
Monterey Bay Aquarium
ImageQuest 3D - Great plankton images!
Evolution and the Nature of Science - A great collection of lessons on evolution from the University of Indiana.
Invertebrate Zoology - Edward Ruppert, Robert D. Barnes, Richard S. Fox
Invertebrates: a New Synthesis - Richard Barnes, Peter Olive, Peter Calow

The Variety of Life - Colin Tudge
The phylogenetic hypothesis above is after the molecular tree by Ken Halanych
Materials for the classroom aquarium were kindly provided by Joel Rubin of the Teacher Resources Center at the  New England Aquarium .  He also loaned us an extremely good set of documentaries - The Shape of Life - which devote 1 hour to each of eight major phyla - giving the students a chance to see animals alive and in their environment, as well as scientists studying them.

Lesson Title
General Biology

"Biology is the Bomb"
A presentation that introduces the concept of the black box in science, and how the scientific method is used to look into the black box.  Includes a discussion of how the opening of various black boxes in science has resulted in dramatic changes to our world. (Powerpoint webpage).
Black Box Lesson
A lesson to accompany the above presentation.  Students are given actual "black boxes" to which they must apply the scientific method of observation, prediction and experimentation to find out what is inside. (Word document)
Introduction to Phylogenetics
A presentation that introduces phylogenetics: the science of inferring the history of species, organisms or genes for use in classification, population biology, or comparative evolutionary biology.  The importance of understanding history is emphasized through analogy to gangster rap. (Powerpoint webpage)
How to make a cladogram
An accompanying lesson which teaches students to make a cladogram (hypothetical species history) from a matrix of shared characters and a simple Venn diagram. Adapted from ENSI web . (Word)
Chemistry of Living Cells
A lesson that I presented to Pam's regular biology class.  It is an introduction to the basic types of chemical bonds, and the four major classes of organic molecules. (Powerpoint webpage)
Protist Lab
A set of questions to accompany a lab in which students observe Amoeba, Paramecium and Euglena.  The questions help to steer the students thinking toward the relationship of protists to multicellular animals. (Word)
Kingdom Quest
I was fortunate to be able to teach a few lessons from the Microcosmos curriculum, kindly provided by Dr. Doug Zook.  This link goes outside this page to the Kingdom Quest lesson plan which introduces students to the challenge and reward of the classification of organisms, as well as to the five major kingdoms of life.
Geologic Timeline
An excellent activity from the Microcosmos curriculum that introduces students to the vast expanse of time over which life has evolved.  The link goes to a .pdf on an external site (at UC Davis).
New England Aquarium Activity Sheet
This is an activity sheet for our field trip to the New England Aquarium.  Included are thought questions for each major section of the aquarium, as well as an invertebrate scavenger hunt. (One of our teams found 73 different invertebrate species!  Can you beat that?)
Phylum Porifera
Phylum Cnidaria
Jellyfish, Corals, Anenomes, Hydra
Phylum Platyhelminthes
Flatworms, Flukes, Tapeworms
A general introduction to three of the four classes of flatworms.  Includes a discussion of parasitism vs. predation. (Powerpoint webpage)
Research paper assignment
An assignment for the students to create a two-page research paper on a species from this phylum.  This is an example of similar assignments that were made for each phylum. (Word)
Phylum Mollusca
Snails, Squid, Octopus, Chitons, Tusk Shells etc.  - Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced my presentation on molluscs.
Squid Dissection
The dissection of a squid is particularly easy and engaging for students as it only requires one cut, and all of the organs are easily observable.  Most of our dissections were taken from textbooks or the web, but I developed this one myself (starting from several resources that are cited within the lab).  I felt it went very well, and presented it at the GK-12 regional meeting.
Phylum Annelida
Earthworms, Leeches, Polychaetes
Segmented Worms
A presentation (designed for overheads) about the three major classes of Annelids. (Word)
Phylum Nematoda
Roundworms - including the biomedically famous C. elegans
 Lab - C. elegans
A lesson plan and worksheet for a laboratory dealing with C. elegans.  It introduces the concept of a model system in biology, and allows the students to observe and speculate on the nature of mutations.
Phylum Arthropoda
By far the largest and most diverse animal phylum: Insects, Millipedes, Crustaceans, Spiders and Scorpions. Pam taught most of this group while I was on Winter vacation :-(
Termite Behavior
This lab is a very effective way to introduce the scientific method, or to follow up the black-box lab above.  Eastern termites (Reticulotermes flavipes) will actually follow the trail of a papermate pen, the ink of which contains chemicals that mimic its trail pherhomones.  It never fails to engage students in a quest to discover why they follow some pen lines but not others.  This lesson inspired a first-place winning science fair project on termite wood preferences.  The link goes to a .pdf lesson plan prepared by fellow STAMP fellow Nishant Shah.
Phylum Echinodermata
Seastars, Brittlestars, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers, Sea Lilies
Spiny-Skinned Animals
An introduction to the echinoderms. (Powerpoint webpage)
Phylum Chordata
Our home phylum. Includes Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals. Pictured is Rosalind Franklin - first person to take a "picture" of DNA
A presentation about reptiles stressing their relationship to birds and mammals, and the importance of the amniotic sac to life on land. Also a brief reference to geologic time. (Powerpoint webpage)
An introduction to the mammals.  It emphasizes important mammalian characters such as warm-bloodedness, milk production, upright stance, fur, and the placenta. (Powerpoint webpage)