About this course
Recommended Ages: This class is ideal for ages 7-11.
Levels: There is only one level for this course.
Start Date: February 2. Class runs for 4 weeks. Students have two weeks after the last class is posted to complete the course. No live classes- do the lesson plans on YOUR schedule.
My degree is in Marine Biology (from Texas A&M University at Galveston), and marine biology was the very first homeschool class I ever taught. I have since branched out into many other sciences, but always love it when I can teach my passion- ocean life! When I offered my Marine Zoology series, so many people wanted a class for the younger kids. Well, here it is! This 4 week “Shark Month” workshop will still have TONS of science, but will be written for younger students. My recommended age group is 7-11. This class is really not a good fit for current Marine Zoology students, as all of the information in this class will be covered in zoology, but in more detail.
This is meant to be a fun, no pressure class! But that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to learn! We’ll even have an optional dissection of a real shark! (See the Materials tab for more information). Some of the things we’ll be covering will include:
1. Evolution and taxonomy: Where do sharks fit into the grand scheme of life on earth? When did they evolve? What were some of the first forms of sharks (Megalodon!!)?
2. Anatomy: What are the different parts of a shark? What evolutionary adaptations have led to sharks being the ocean’s apex (top) predator?
3. Reproduction: How do sharks reproduce? Why did they evolve these reproductive strategies?
4. Species: We’ll discuss many species you are familiar with, and some you’ve never even heard of! Each has its own unique and fascinating adaptations! Students will learn how to use a dichotomous key to identify species.
5. The Fear Factor: Should we be afraid of sharks? What are the statistics on shark attacks? What are the most common reasons why sharks attack? What can be done to prevent an attack?
6. Conservation: Why are the world’s shark populations in decline? What would happen to the ocean ecosystem if its apex predator disappeared? Why is it important to save sharks? What can we do to help save sharks?
LESSON PLANS: This is a 4 week class. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete all work. Weekly lesson plans are posted on Tuesdays by 5pm Pacific Time. There is no “live” component to this class, which allows students to work at their own pace. This is a great option for busy students who need to work on their own schedule, and students who live all over the world and can’t easily coordinate time zones.
Lesson plans are a combination of power point, graphics, video, and audio. Each slide is fully narrated for students who prefer to hear material read to them. There is no textbook for this course.
DISCUSSION:We offer an “open talk” forum where students can have fun getting to know their classmates!
ASSIGNMENTS: This is a hands on class!! Each week, students get to choose from a list of exciting and fun hands on projects to let them really dig deep into topics in the lesson plan that interest them the most! The goal is to allow students to explore the topic while allowing their creativity to flow. We encourage out of the box thinking! Generally projects can be submitted in any format of the student’s choosing…written, presentation, poster, stop motion animation, minecraft, song, skit…we’ve seen it all!! Check out our facebook page for examples of student projects. All students receive instructor feedback on submitted work.
QUIZZES: Online quizzes are available each week as a tool for students to see how well they understand the material. Format is generally multiple choice, matching, true/false, and fill in the blank.
GRADES: Grades are NOT given for this course, although instructor feedback is given for all submitted assignments.
TIME: In general, expect 1-1.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time).
We do a shark dissection in Week 2 of this class. If you would like to order your own specimen to follow along with me in the dissection video, there is a list of sources below. If you live outside of the United States, you need to call and see if they will ship to you. If not, you may be able to find a biological supply company in your area. You need to order your shark as soon as you enroll to insure it is here before class starts. When your animal arrives, store it in a dark, cool place. Do NOT freeze or refrigerate. You can order a dissection kit if you want, but really all you need is a pair of googles, gloves, sharp scissors (easier to use than a scalpel), and some kind of a probe (toothpicks work well for this).
I do not personally endorse any of these companies, nor do I receive any kind of compensation for listing them. I suggest you research the individual companies before purchasing. There are also other companies that sell preserved sharks. When given a choice of types, choose plain preserved (you don’t need injected ones).
Our course begins with the first step for generating great user experiences: understanding what people do, think, say, and feel. In this module, you’ll learn how to keep an open mind while learning.