This is a one-semester life science zoology course for students in 6th-8th grades. Fifth graders will be considered with prior instructor approval. When combined with Life Science 2: Botany and Human Biology (second semester), these courses, which both include a lab component, will provide one middle school science credit. These two one-semester courses can be taken as a full-year course: Life Science 1 and 2 for a reduced rate.
Do you love animals and want to know more about them? If so, this is the course for you. Did you know that the loudest animal on earth is a shrimp? Or that the Portuguese Man-of-War is not a single animal but a colony of many animals? Or that some mammals lay eggs? Or that some kangaroos spend most of the time up in the treetops?
There is so much to learn about the animal kingdom. We’ll use an amazing book, teacher-created lessons, lots of videos, audio recordings, games, and activities to gain an understanding of how to interact with the other living things that share this planet with us. This course begins with a discussion of the characteristics all animals share, the ways animals are classified, animal behavior, and life cycles. Then we will study the classes in Kingdom Animalia, including invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The final topics include habitats and conservation.
A typical week contains one 1-hour live Zoom class and 4 daily lessons. The live classes may include game-based reviews of topics from the previous week, an introduction to the coming week, and/or a case study that brings the current topic to life. Although it is always best if students attend the live classes, I will post the recording of the class so that students who can’t attend can watch it later.
The daily lessons will include an online introduction as well as a section to read in the book Animal. I use many audio and video recordings to help students learn the correct pronunciation of new terms as well as to reinforce content from the book.
Since this course can be used as ½ credit of life science, a few additional writing assignments and projects may be given to students in grades 7 and 8.
Who should enroll?
Life Science 1: Zoology is for curious students in grades 6–8 (and pre-approved 5th graders) who have a strong desire to understand how and why different animals are designed and behave, and to learn how animals interact with humans, other animals, and their environments.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Headset and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
Evaluation and Feedback
I use “learning checks” at the end of most lessons to assure both the student and teacher that students understand the concepts presented in the lessons. Many of the learning checks are automatically graded by the computer. For the essay questions and projects, I generally grade every day, sending feedback to the students to help them understand questions they may have missed. A final grade will be based on the scores from learning checks, participation in activities and experiments, and attendance and participation in live classes. A Certificate of Completion with the final grade will be given at the end of the course.
I welcome any and all communication from parents. It is my goal to partner with you in your student’s education, so if at any time you have questions or concerns, my virtual door is open.