The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to the advantages behind the colors and patterns displayed on Wisconsin critters using a collection of photos from Snapshot Wisconsin, a citizen science project utilizing a statewide network of trail cameras. This lesson plan includes an optional outdoor activity.
In this hands-on activity, students will identify producers and consumers their own state of Wisconsin. Using a set of “Snapshot cards,” they will then create a food chain to show the flow of energy in that system, introduce an ecological force or disturbance (e.g., flooding), and predict how that force would impact energy flow. Lastly, students will construct a more complex model of the flow of energy by depicting multiple relationships in a food web and again make a prediction about the impact of introducing an ecological force.
To many, Anurida maritima are the clusters of blue specks in rocky tide pools. Upon closer inspection, these specks are intertidal arthropods, with the ability to survive periods of high-tide submersion thanks to their hydrophobic hair and cuticle.
Here in the Dunn lab, siphonophores are our favorite animal and the focus of much of our research. Dr. Phil Pugh is a good friend of the lab, and he also happens to have described more new species of siphonophores than anyone who has ever lived. In the video below, he describes what it’s like to come across a siphonophore in the deep sea with a submarine. What looks like one long body in this video is actually a free-swimming colony of clones — many genetically identical bodies that are all attached. But each body in the group isn’t just like its neighbor. They each do a specific job for the colony. Some individuals will swim, some will catch food, and some will reproduce.
Robert Sandler tells the story of doliolid reproduction. The video was made with paper puppets and hand-drawn animations. Robert made this episode with support from the Society of Royce Fellows.
Connor McGuigan, an invertebrate zoology student, describes Astrammina rara: a giant, carnivorous cell that lives in Antarctic waters. This foraminiferan is a unicellular organism that can capture and eat animals much larger than it.
In this video, Trisha Towanda talks about one particular jellyfish, the fried egg jelly, and some of the other creatures that hang around it. There are moon jellies that the fried egg jelly eats. These moon jellies have little parasitic crustaceans on them called amphipods, which jump to the fried egg jelly while the moon jelly is being eaten. There are also crabs that ride around on the fried egg jelly, that are parasitic in their youth, but then grow to be helpful symbionts by eating off the little amphipods. This sort of coming of age story, where a symbiont’s relationship changes over its lifespan is an unusual one. Trisha put the pieces together by staring at them for hours and days and weeks when she was in Erik Thuessen‘s lab at Evergreen State College.
If you are stuck to a rock it is tricky to get close enough to a partner to mate. One solution to this problem would be to release eggs or sperm into the open water, which is what many animals in this situation do. Acorn barnacles (Semibalanus balanoides), however, found a different solution. They have evolved the longest penis relative to their body size of any animal. In this video the penises of several barnacles are probing the neighborhood for mates. The penis is re-grown each mating season.
Sophia Tintori and Cassandra Extavour talk about the evolution and development of multicellular organisms, and in particular the specialization of reproductive cells.
Riley Thompson made this animation about the fascinating lifecycle of narco babies. We usually don’t think of babies that grow inside their mothers as parasites, but sometimes the lines get very blurry. This is especially true in Narcomedusae, a group of poorly known jellyfish found throughout the world’s oceans.
Robert Sandler tells the story of ocean slime, using stop motion and jellyfish puppets. Robert made this episode with support from the Society of Royce Fellows.
This video demonstrates some of the features of PhyloTree. It then shows the early explosive discovery of mammal species (most major mammal groups were discovered early on), and then shows the slow and steady discovery of cnidarians (many cnidarians remain to be described). The tool can also be used to quickly find the first species that was described in a group. The first siphonophore to be described, for example, was Physalia physalis (the Portuguese man o’ war).
Alysse Austin, a student in Casey Dunn’s Invertebrate Zoology course at Brown University, describes sexual dimorphism in green spoonworm.
Here is a semi-interactive video (with the option of a single, non-interactive video here) from CreatureCast alum Sophia Tintori, featuring tips from a handful of ocean-dwellers that each have drastically different approaches to being invisible.
Students learn about the amazing adaptations of the ptarmigan to the alpine tundra. They focus one adaptation, the feathered feet of the ptarmigan, and ask whether the feathers serve to only keep the feet warm or to also provide the bird with floatation capability. They create model ptarmigan feet, with and without feathers, and test the hypothesis on the function of the feathers. Ultimately, students make a claim about whether the feathers provide floatation and support this claim with their testing evidence.
In this <1 hr course, you will learn how to use the Siftr mobile tool to create new "fieldwork" activity for your class. Fieldwork activities involve learners observing and documenting their world. Fieldwork activities include citizen science, citizen journalism, citizen ethnography and span both the physical and social sciences.
- Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
- Business and Information Technology
- Health Science
- Environmental Literacy and Sustainability
- Art and Design
- Art History
- Performing and Visual Arts
- Environmental Science
- Social Studies
- Sociology and Anthropology
- World Cultures
- Material Type:
- Reference Material
- Teaching/Learning Strategy
- Field Day Lab
- Jim Mathews
- Date Added:
This Informational text focuses on the migration habits of the grasshopper/locust and the gray whale.