Marine Zoology 8 Week Series: Invertebrates Session 2

Marine Zoology 8 Week Series: Invertebrates Session 2


About this course


This is Part 3 of a 4 part marine zoology series To take this course, you must successfully complete Marine Biology 101.

Other classes in the series include:
Marine Zoology: Invertebrates Session 1
Marine Zoology: Vertebrates

Recommended Ages: 10-17

Levels: Class is offered in 2 levels

Start Date: December 6, 2022. Class consists of 8 lesson plans. Due to this course being offered during holiday season, students have 3 weeks after the last lesson is posted to complete the course. No live classes- do the lesson plans on YOUR schedule.

Price: $160

Space Available: This course is not currently open for enrollment. This course is only open to enrollment for students who have completed our Marine Biology 101 class. That class will begin in September.

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.

As you may know, I moved to Panama in late 2020. I have 13 acres of jungle and Caribbean oceanfront that I plan to transform into an educational center for biodiversity. I am hoping to be ready for my first in person workshop in April/May of 2022! It will be created specifically for students who have completed the full year marine zoology course, allowing them to get hands on and put their knowledge to the test in the field! More information about this will be available in January 2022. For more information on this project, please watch this video.

In this session, students will be focusing on 3 major groups of marine invertebrates:

1. Mollusks: Gastropods (snails and nudibranchs), Bivalves (oysters and clams), and everyone’s favorite…Cephalopods (octopus, squid, and cuttlefish)!! This group of marine invertebrates is as varied as it is fascinating. Did you know that there are snails that shoot spears full of venom into their prey? Or that octopus are the most intelligent invertebrates on earth- even smarter than many vertebrate animals? We’ll learn how to easily tell exactly what group of animals that shell you find on the beach belongs to! And there will be several labs, including dissections, to explore this amazing phylum!

2. Crustaceans: You say crustacean, I say DINNER! Crustaceans include lobsters, crabs, and shrimp. Not only are they tasty, but they are super cool! Mantis shrimp have a punch so fast that they BOIL the water around them! Plus, we’ll learn how to tell the sex of crabs, look at the similarities and differences in the anatomy of these closely related critters, and more! Lots of labs and dissections.

3. Echinoderms: Seastars, urchins, and sea cucumbers. These guys are our closest living invertebrate relatives. And they are fascinating! Just their varied forms of defense mechanisms could create an entire class! Did you know that sea cucumbers spit out their sticky guts so prey get entangled in them, while the cucumber makes its very slow getaway- only to grow new guts?! Told you they’re fascinating!

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.

This is an academically advanced class. Younger students 10-12 should usually be placed in Level 1. Students age 13 and up, or younger students who want more of a challenge, should be placed in Level 2. Level 2 students will have more in depth homework.

LESSON PLANS: This is an 8 week class. Students have 4 weeks after the last class is posted to complete all work (allows for a 2 week holiday break). 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 discuss their lessons and have fun getting to know their classmates!

ASSIGNMENTS: Material is the same for both levels, it’s the depth of the assignments that is the main difference. Most weeks, 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: 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 boards, submit assignments, and view instructor feedback on those assignments. You have the option of having your student’s assignments graded or not. In a given semester, you choose whether you want all or none of that student’s classes to receive grades (for example, if they are taking 3 classes, all 3 classes must be either graded or not graded). You can change the option the following semester. Graded students will be required to take the weekly quiz and will receive a number grade for their assignments in addition to feedback. They will also receive a final report card that you can print and keep for your records. Please note: All quizzes and some homework assignments that require an online “quiz” like entry will receive a grade.

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 dissections throughout 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 specimens as soon as you enroll to insure they are here before class starts. When your animals arrive, store them in a dark, cool place. Do NOT freeze or refrigerate preserved specimens. 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).

Note: If you also plan on taking Marine Zoology: Invertebrates Part 1 and Marine Zoology: Vertebrates, also check the material lists for those classes. If you order everything together, you can save on shipping. 🙂


If a link is provided, it is to show you the type of animal you need to order. Below is a list of sources where you can purchase specimens

Clam (or you can buy one from your local seafood market)
Squid (or you can buy one from your local seafood market)
Horseshoe Crab
Crab (buy one from your local seafood market)
Shrimp (buy one from your local seafood market)
Crawfish (or you can buy one from your local seafood market)
Starfish– The listed one is 2-3″. If you can find the 5″-6″ size, that is easier to work with.


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 specimens. 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.

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