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Teaching Zoology

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Gerry Clarin Gerry Clarin 2125 Points

I found out that I will be teaching two classes of Zoology. I wanted to start preparing for next year. I was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction especially in terms of interesting labs or activities I could do and share with the students.

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28195 Points

Hi Gerry - Lucky you! Zoology is one of my favorite courses to teach. What grade level will you be teaching? Do you have a course text selected yet? What type of lab equipment do you have available at your school? I've taught Zoology at the college level many times. Classic lab work includes - lab dissections (body system), taxonomy, evolution, animal adaptations, introductory work in genetics concepts and cell/tissue microscope work. It's also fun to add in some comparative physiology experiments, depending upon your lab equipment. Also, if you have access to local field sites, you can do some of the taxonomy/identification lessons in the field. Have you tried a NSTA Learning Center Library search yet on zoology topics? If not I'd encourage you to try it. There are many free teaching resources available in the Learning Center. Good luck and have fun designing your new course. Dorothy Ginnett

John Giacobbe John Giacobbe 465 Points

Don't forget a field trip to the local zoo! In addition to a nice close and personal review of your topic, I find it useful to include some animal behavioral studies. Works best if you have some primates at your facility, they are generally the most active and of course have the most complex behavior. I have several worksheets for analyzing primate behavior. They are not digital, but perhaps I could scan them or, Luddite that I am, mail you a copy... John Giacobbe jgiacobbe_southpointe@cox.net

Katherine Willet Katherine Zimmerman 21310 Points

Check out JASON.org and see some of their activities. A few of the life science curriculum activities would be great for zoology. The other great thing about JASON is that it is free curriculum.

John Giacobbe John Giacobbe 465 Points

Thanks for the tip, Catherine. I've come across that organizations name several times, but never become involved. Perhaps now is the time? Cool Beans. John

John Giacobbe John Giacobbe 465 Points

Sorry, that's Katherine!

Katherine Willet Katherine Zimmerman 21310 Points

John, If you need any help let me know. Once you sign up everything is free. What is really nice is that JASON will separate the activities for you by your individual state standards. You can put in the specific standard you are teaching, and they match the activities that will support that curriculum. It makes it nice to know you are covering your material, but the information is presented in an interesting way. Katie

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 88563 Points

Hi Gerry,
Building on what Dorothy said about including classic lab work like lab dissections (body systems), a dissection that uses frozen whole squid from the supermarket is a way to create high interest and introduce body systems, and it is less expensive than purchases made of preserved specimens of other animals. I found this pdf of a Squid Dissectionfrom the Education Program at the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium. Although it uses the term funnel for siphon, it looks like a good basic lesson guide. Also the Squid Laboratory Tutorialcontained excellent labeled photos of various internal and external squid views. There are probably virtual squid dissections to access as well.

Elizabeth Dalzell-Wagers Elizabeth Dalzell 9945 Points

I am in the same boat of just finding out I will be teaching a class starting March 5! HELP! Does anyone have a syllabus they would be willing to share? I am in the dark, I figured I would teach each of the kingdoms, visit the zoo and the aquarium, maybe a reptile garden... I would appreciate any help I can get. Thanks group! Happy Friday Liz

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68585 Points

You might find The Encyclopedia of Life Website quite useful http://education.eol.org/educators The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is a web portal with a link to a website for every species. Each site, or species page, consists of several web pages which contain the scientific and common names of the species an illustration, a range map, habitat and natural history, conservation status and human uses, and how to identify it. The power of the EOL, however, lies in the fact that “species name” is a field in almost every biological database, and so can be used to organize and link to virtually the totality of biological knowledge. From the entry page, users are able to jump to a wide variety of more specialized pages. As long as the species name is a field in another database, its data will be able to be linked intothe species site. In this packet you will find two worksheets for a lesson about the Encyclopedia

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68585 Points

Another website I really like in action bioscience http://www.actionbioscience.org/ ActionBioscience.org is a non-commercial, educational web site created to promote bioscience literacy. Many resources here are also available in spanish

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 88563 Points

Hi Liz, When I found out I was teaching a new course, I decided to google the title and see what might be out there in cyberspace. I was pleasantly surprised to find a half dozen syllabi to look at in order to get ideas and make sure I was on the "right track" in what I was thinking should be part of the course content. I also got great suggestions for texts to consider. I googled zoology syllabus just now and there were over a dozen that popped up. It might be worth a try. Carolyn

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28195 Points

Hi Liz -

Wow! You have a short timeline to design your course!

What grade level will you be teaching? You said you start this class in March, so how long is this zoology course? Is it just one academic quarter?

I've taught zoology semester courses at the college level. I could share a sample syllabus if you think it would be helpful. I also agree with a prior post that you should be able to find many fine sample syllabii in an online search.

I've used the Zoology book by Hickman et al. Pretty much a college-level biology majors text.
I do remember seeing texts on Animal Diversity that might work well for high school level. Can't remember the author or publisher.

Dorothy Ginnett

Elizabeth Dalzell-Wagers Elizabeth Dalzell 9945 Points

Thanks for the great ideas so far! I am teaching 9-12th grade alternative education students. I did google/bing the topic and found some great resources. Dorothy I would love for you to share anything you have, I can always modify/adjust the content. Thanks Liz

Gerry Clarin Gerry Clarin 2125 Points

Thanks for all the help everyone!! I'm checking out all the resources and feel way more confident about next year!!

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28195 Points

Hi Liz - How is your new Zoology course going? I hope you are really enjoying teaching this topic! I haven't checked in at this forum lately, so just saw your note about syllabi. Were you able to find any helpful resources? Did you need any more assistance or ideas for teaching Zoology? Dorothy

Elizabeth Dalzell-Wagers Elizabeth Dalzell 9945 Points

Hi Dorothy! Thanks for remembering me :) The class is starting for me on Tuesday, I had to have a sub the first night becasue of a family issue, then we had Spring Break. I am focusing more on the diversity of animals rather than on the cellular levels. The students had Biology I and II with me, so I know they have the cell background and genetics :) I will be sure to let you know, Thanks Liz

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4025 Points

Hey Chris,

We could continue this discussion in the Teaching Zoology forum. Since it is an existing forum, you may see some ideas that may help. Also, maybe we could encourage Dorothy Ginnett to join the discussion. She teaches zoology and is a wealth of information.

How many students will you have in zoology next year?



I moved this over here. I'm excited about the course. I'm not sure exactly how many kids I'll have. I will have two sections, which I think right now are in the low to mid 30's. I think that will drop once school starts. They had a class this year, which was taught by a teacher who had planned on not coming back next year since the first day of school and it turned into a movie class, very little work required. They changed it to an honor's class and I'll be teaching it...and it is definitely going to be "honors". We told the kids this, but still a lot of the less motivated children signed up thinking it was going to be an easy 3rd science credit....so i'm guessing I will have 5-10 drop early on.


I have a project on donorschoose right now for lots of stuff I think would make the class awesome...so i'm hoping that goes through.

I'm planning on doing dissections, probably a bug collection where they will have to use a key to identify the bugs. I teach in AZ so a lot of the stuff you can do in other states where they have climate and soil and diversity of animal life is a lot harder to do here.

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4025 Points

I also wondered if anyone has ever tried this lab http://www.carolina.com/category/teacher+resources/classroom+activities/constructing+berlese+funnels.do?s_cid=em_CTGen_201205&utm_source=Marketlive+Email&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Read+the+entire+article&utm_content=Carolina+Tips+-+May+2012+-+General&utm_campaign=05%2F29%2F2012 Again...the whole Arizona soil issue comes into play. There is a Riparian reserve not far from the school where I could probably go poach soil from, but I think part of the fun of this would be having the kids dig out their own soil.

Patty McGinnis Patricia McGinnis 25595 Points

Hi Chris,
You might want to read the article called Scope on Safety: Digging up the Dirt on Soil Safety if you plan to have students collect their own soil.

Patty McGinnis Patricia McGinnis 25595 Points

I see the Caroline had mentioned the idea of dissecting squid in class; you can also buy fresh clams or whole fish for dissection.

Patty McGinnis Patricia McGinnis 25595 Points

Another idea for teaching zoology on a limited budget is to get free materials from Animalearn. They offer alternatives to dissection and have many models and computer programs that you can borrow for free (you may have to pay shipping, I am not sure). Their products and they are quite good. The National Association of Biology Teachers appears to be endorsing virtual dissections since it is now partnering with Froguts.

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4025 Points

Thank you Patty :)

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 63605 Points

Hey Chris, We are well into the summer. How is the development of your new zoology class proceeding? You had posted earlier that you wanted to know how I handled my lab practicals during animal dissections. I use several (4 to 5) of the students' specimens. I pin certain structures. Most of my practicals are 20 questions, but it really depends on the organism. I do not simply have my students recalled the names of the structures that are pinned. I may have one or two identification on the practical depending on its length. The rest of the questions require the students to apply their knowledge about the structure or link information together. One of my favorite questions is "what would happen to the organism if this structure was removed?"

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4025 Points

Actually, much to my dismay, I recieved a phone call in mid june telling me that they needed me to teach chem full time, and I wouldn't be teaching zoology anymore. I'm not a happy camper

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 63605 Points

Chris, I am so sorry to hear that. Make some lemonade...and file all those good ideas away because you will get to use them some day. Chemistry is a fun class to teach, too.

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4025 Points

My dismay is more with the admin at my school. We don't get along to well and this is just another slap in the face. It's better for me in the long run, because this would be the first time I had taught both those classes at this school so would have been lots and lots of prep...so hopefully next year :)

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 63605 Points

Chris, That is a very good attitude to have. It is very important to keep the peace with your admin.

Matthew Parker Matthew Parker 60 Points

Hi all- I am teaching one high school zoology class (25-30 students). I am having trouble finding materials to use and how to teach the class. Any help that can be provided would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Matthew -

You might want to look at these case studies from Costa Rica on Biodiversity for some animal/zoology teaching ideas:

Global Environmental Change: Biodiversity by NSTA Press http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9780873551571

Dorothy

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28195 Points

Hi Matthew -

Lucky you! Zoology is one of my favorite courses to teach.

High School Zoology is great fun to teach! Do you have a Zoology course text selected yet or will you be using a general Biology text and internet resources?

We use the classic "Integrated Principals of Zoology" text by Hickman, Roberts, et al. in college. It's a huge text book, but it would be a good desk reference for you. Check with your local university Professors and bookstore, they may have used copies (prior editions) that they would share with you.

A good resource for a high school zoology class reference book would also be the "Animal Diversity" book by Hickman, Rickleffs, et al.

What type of lab equipment do you have available at your school?

I've taught Zoology at the college level many times. Classic lab work includes - lab dissections (body systems), taxonomy, evolution, animal adaptations, introductory work in genetics concepts and cell/tissue microscope work. It's also fun to add in some comparative physiology experiments, depending upon your lab equipment.

Also, if you have access to local field sites, you can do some of the taxonomy/identification lessons in the field.

Have you tried a NSTA Learning Center Library search yet on zoology topics? If not I'd encourage you to try it. There are many free teaching resources available in the NSTA Learning Center.

Good luck and have fun designing your new course.

Dorothy Ginnett

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28195 Points

Hi Matthew -

The program FrogGuts provides a great alternative to dissection for students who do not want to dissect. If your school has a subscription, it's great. They have virtual Frogs, Fetal Pigs and StarFish.

There are also many great free virtual dissection websites online.

Dorothy

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 63605 Points

Hi Matthew,

I have my students dissect representative organisms from several major phyla. Last year I also supplemented with these online labs from Iowa State. Here is the link for the phyla Porifera lab, but you can navigate from there to the labs for phyla Cnidaria, Platyhelminthes, and Nematoda.

Matthew Parker Matthew Parker 60 Points

Thank you for the helpful suggestions. I will definitely use the online dissections. The struggle right now seems to be what to cover before we get into the different phylums. Last year the class was only a semester long, and the students needed an extensive biology review. This means we barely got into the different phylums. This year however the students have a better science background for the most part. I will definitely look the Hickman textbook.

Sandra Naihe Sandra Naihe 605 Points

For kindergarten, I once titled my animal lesson "Zoology" I taught my lesson that animals are put into categories/groups. ~ Vertebrates and Invertebrates ~ I begin with vertebrates and share that these animals have bones and show a sample bone structure. Then I go into the invertebrates with no bone (butterfly, jellyfish, little beetle). This is just a way that I bring a zoology lesson down to their level.

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John McKenzie John McKenzie 670 Points

Hello, I have found myself in the same boat as many of the others here. I will be teaching a year long zoology class at the high school level for the first time. Any help or ideas on materials, syllabus, etc. would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, John McKenzie

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