Sharks, Fish, Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals


IMPORTANT: This class requires that students have completed or are enrolled in the upcoming Marine Biology 101 class.
Recommended Ages: 10-17
Start Date: Tuesday, Sept 4, 2018. Class runs for 13 weeks. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete the course. No live classes- do the lesson plans on YOUR schedule.
Grading Options: All students receive feedback on submitted work. Formal grading is available.
Fee: $260
Required Textbook: NONE
If you have a student aged 10-17 that has an interest in marine biology, this is the class you want! 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! This will not be a “fluff” class, or an “overview”- it is an intensive, science heavy class where students will learn marine biology from many different aspects- taxonomy, evolutionary relationships, anatomy, function, habitat, etc… There will be dissections in this course. Students can watch me do the dissection online, and I will even give you instructions for obtaining specimens so they can follow along with their own dissection if they’d like! Students who don’t wish to participate in viewing the dissections may opt out.

In this session, students will be focusing on 5 major groups of marine vertebrates:
1. Cartilaginous Fish: No bones about it, cartilaginous fish are super cool! We’ll start with the super weird jawless fish, lampreys! Kids are always simultaneously fascinated and grossed out by this weird group! We’ll even get hands on with a dissection. Then, move into learning what makes skates different from stingrays, and do another dissection. Then, finish up with everyone’s favorite- SHARKS! We’ll explore them from every scientific aspect- evolution, taxonomy, anatomy, habitat, adaptations, conservation issues, and more! And…another dissection!
2. Bony Fish: Did you know that bony fish are the largest vertebrate group on earth? The variety of adaptations are amazing, and we’ll spend a few weeks learning all about them. Did you know that clownfish can change from being a male to a female and back again? How about the fact that cute little pufferfish contain a toxin 1,200 times more deadly than cyanide? Those are just a few of the interesting facts we’ll cover. And of course, a dissection!
3. Reptiles: Reptiles aren’t just on land! We’ll cover sea turtles, sea snakes, and the marine iguana (which is only found in the Galapagos!). There will be an awesome project that will track sea turtles on their migratory paths across the globe. We’ll learn what causes a baby sea turtle to become a male or female (hint: temperature!). Did you know that female sea turtles return to the beach they were born to lay their eggs, and that male sea turtles never leave the ocean? We’ll focus on all 7 species of sea turtle, and discuss the conservation issues surrounding them.
4. Birds: Did you know that a sea bird has the longest migration of any animal on earth? And it’s a sea bird that has the longest wingspan of any bird on earth? From seagulls to albatross, penguins to puffins, we’ll cover these often overlooked group of marine animals!
5. Marine Mammals: What’s the difference between a whale and a dolphin? What about a seal and a sea lion? Did you know the closest living relative to the whales are HIPPOPOTAMUS’?! We’ll cover these and many other fascinating topics as we work our way through the world of marine mammals! Manatees, sea otters, polar bears, seals, sea lions, walruses, dolphins, whales…WHEW! After studying their intelligence and emotional capabilities, we’ll then launch into a discussion on the pros and cons of keeping these animals in captivity.
I will be creating educational videos to accompany the course- many of these will be on site at various areas around southern California, both at the ocean and in some of our local aquariums. I’ll also be conducting virtual labs for the students, including dissections. Each week, there will be a choice of hands on projects for students to complete to reinforce their knowledge of the material. And in the forums, we will discuss up to the minute scientific discoveries that are occurring all over the globe.
This is a 13 week class that begins on September 4. Students have 2 weeks after that date to complete all work.
I will post all lesson plans and homework assignments on Tuesdays before 5pm PST. Discussion occurs throughout the week, as students interact with me and other students via our online message board. 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.

Cost: $260
You will have the option of enrolling in Marine Zoology Invertebrates Part 1 and Part 2 that will begin in February 2018. The Marine Biology 101, Marine Zoology: Vertebrates, and the 2 sessions of Marine Zoology: Invertebrates constitute a complete year of Marine Zoology.
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. Material is the same for both levels, it’s the depth of the assignments that are the main difference. Younger students 10-13 should usually be placed in Level 1. Students ages 14 and up, or younger students who are academically gifted, should be placed in Level 2. Level 2 students will have more rigorous coursework, including learning how to read and interpret scientific papers. 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).


When you enroll, you have the option of having your student graded or not. ALL students will have access to our online learning system where they can view their lesson plan and assignments, take optional quizzes, access our discussion board, submit assignments, and view instructor feedback on those assignments. Graded students will be required to take the weekly quiz and will receive a number grade for their work in addition to feedback. Please note: All quizzes and some homework assignments that require an online “quiz” like entry will receive a grade.



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