Marine Biology 101: Taxonomy, Zonation, Protists, and Plankton! A Course from Next Level Homeschool
There are a wide range of courses on various topics offered by Next Level Homeschool. Check out their selection here:
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 no surface skimming in this class! We’re going to go deep!
In this session, students will be learning five of the foundation topics of marine biology:
1. Taxonomy: Students will learn how taxonomy works, how to read cladograms and see evolutionary relationships, how to read dichotomous keys, and how to create them. This course is heavy in taxonomy and key work- students will be learning the major taxonomic divisions of the animals we study. So a strong foundation in taxonomy is necessary!
2. Zonation: The ocean is VAST! And just like on the land, there are many different habitats that dictate evolutionary adaptations and the species that can survive there. We will learn all of the ocean life zones- both horizontal and vertical. These zones will be referred to in future courses, so it is important that students understand the terms and habitat conditions that are associated with them.
3. Protists: Did you know that kelp isn’t a plant? It’s a protist! As are many of the creatures- both plant like and animal like- that make up the plankton that is the basis of the food chain. Students need to understand what separates these organisms from true plants and animals.
4. Plankton: You can’t have the largest animal on earth (the blue whale) without the tiniest ones- plankton! We’ll learn about phytoplankton and zooplankton, focusing on individual species and their importance in the marine food chain. We will talk about plankton in some capacity in every other marine biology lesson plan, so this is a biggie!
5. Plants: There are actually a few true plants that are considered to be marine (most of what you think of as plants are actually protists!). Although not a major foundation for the rest of the course, this is the best place to talk about plants! We’ll learn about what separates a plant from a protist, and some of the unique habitats and ecosystems these plants are the “root” of! 🙂
I have created 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. Each week, there will be a choice of hands on projects for students to complete to reinforce their knowledge of the material.
This is Part 1 of a 4 part marine zoology series. It is only 4 weeks, and allows you and your child to make sure this teaching method and your learning style are a good match before committing to the full year of coursework. This class is the prerequiste for our full year Marine Zoology course, and will be immediately followed up in October with Marine Zoology: Invertebrates Part 1, followed by Marine Zoology: Invertebrates Part 2 in December. In February, the full year of Marine Zoology ends with the final installment of Marine Zoology: Vertebrates. The information learned in this class is the foundation for everything else we learn, and no student is allowed to take additional marine zoology sessions without having successfully completed this course.
Please note: If you enroll in Marine Biology 101, you are guaranteed space in the remaining marine zoology classes as long as you enroll before the deadline for each class. This first 4 week class is so you and your child can make sure our format is a good fit for your learning needs without you having to commit to a full year of classes.
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