In this project, students will investigate one of the seven phyla that makes up the Kingdom Animalia. They will work as a group to research their phylum and then create an organism that has “yet to be discovered” that would fit within their phylum. They will conduct research on characteristics of their phylum related to organism structure, metabolism, reproduction, and adaptations to use as traits in their created organism. They will design and build a model of their organism to be presented to the class, as well as write an essay about the organism’s design and the rationale behind it. This is a great way to stretch your students’ creatively and intellectually while also allowing them to grow in their appreciation for the diversity of life and the vast array of ways that organisms are structured and designed to survive and reproduce in a given environment.
How can I use this?
- In an ecology unit as a student-led extension project after teaching on classification and taxonomy
- In an evolution unit so students can see how a variety of organisms in the Animalia phyla are adapted to their specific environments for survival and reproduction
- As an opportunity in any unit to expand your students' appreciation and understanding for the diversity of life
Why should I use this product in my classroom?
I love any opportunity to witness my students' creativity really flourish, and this project does just that. It is also an excellent opportunity for them to practice skills of conducting research, designing a model, writing an essay to defend their claims with evidence and practicing working together as a team. I also love any opportunity to get my students seeing how much bigger the world is than they often think of it, since they so easily can get caught up in the drama of their own worlds. The diversity of our world is FASCINATING and I want all of my students to see and appreciate that!
What is included?
- 2 pages of teacher implementation notes (PDF)
- 4 pages of student handouts (PDF) including a product description, rubric, checklist, and peer evaluation sheet
What materials will I need to have in my classroom to set this up?
- Access to technology and internet for students to conduct research and write their essays
- (Optional) Materials for students to use to build their models
- Alternatively, you can have students bring in whatever materials they want to use to do this within their group!
How much prior knowledge is needed for students to be successful completing this?
- Basic understanding of ecological concepts such as characteristics of life and taxonomic organization
- Basic understanding of the necessity for organisms to have adaptations for their environment in order to survive and reproduce in it
How much class time will this take?
This project takes about 1 week or 4-5 50-minute class periods.
What if I want more related to this?
What if I have a question?
Email me at email@example.com. I’d love to answer any questions you have!
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You may not...
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