Invertebrates, This is not SpongeBob

12 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Classify simple invertebrates. Compare and contrast a natural sponge to synthetic by collecting, analyzing and interpreting data

Big Idea

Scientists test their hypothesis by collecting data, and then reporting their findings. Students learn that there will be instances where the data may, or may not, support the hypothesis.


1 minutes

Warm up

5 minutes

During this lesson I want students to be able to formulate  a hypothesis but I need to build up to this and scaffold. Using a powerpoint allows me to do just that. I find that the powerpoint keeps me, as well as the students, on track. I also love to "weave" in academic vocabulary into each lesson. The students know that if  we are doing Science, we will be learning new words and they need to use those words during our discussions. They know they have to update their Science Notebook Table of Contents.pdf page in their interactive Science notebooks as soon as we begin the lesson.

The first slide in Some of Earth's Incredible Invertebrates.pptx contains different pictures of invertebrates.To get them started I have them use their white boards to identify each picture, some they know, and some they don't, which builds excitement for what's to come.The best part is, it takes all of 2 minutes and they are hooked!

Guided practice

15 minutes

I like to give some varied examples of the topic while introducing new academic vocabulary. During this lesson, what I think worked really well, was that I don't go right into sponges but show other animals that fit into the "simple invertebrate" classification leading them on the path to the incredible sponge. I like to embed videos when I can, and this lesson really lent itself to this. Because of time constraints, I don't use the whole video just what I need, that's why I make notes in the comment section of the power point Some of Earth's Incredible Invertebrates, to remind me how far along I need to go.

I take every opportunity to sprinkle it throughout the lesson. Using a modified Frayer Vocabulary Model for vocabulary in their notebooks, ties right back to the powerpoint where I give students a visual to enable them to relate to the new vocabulary.It's encouraging to hear them using the new words they learned during our discussions.


20 minutes

I usually try to use a "focus page" along with a power point during each of my lessons. I find that this enables me an authentic assessment, a demonstration of learning, that I would not have if I used the powerpoint alone. The focus page for this lesson is a Sponge Lab. The students work alone and collaboratively which helps me scaffold and differentiate the focus of the lesson; to formulate a hypothesis then compare Natural Sponge vs Synthetic Sponge.

One tip, that sounds simple enough, I have to pass on about the preparation of this lab, is to always use completely dry sponges, if not, the results will be off. 

Observing the student examining synthetic sponge absorbing water, having the students collecting, comparing and analyzing data while using vocabulary that they just learned, as well as other academic vocabulary they have acquired thus far is extremely encouraging.

Class Discussion/Wrap up

10 minutes

Having students discuss in their groups, before sharing out to the class, is my preferred method of helping students organize their ideas and practice academic vocabulary in a risk free way.The discussion of the their findings surpassed my expectations! Almost all of the students included the word "pores", some even commented that they were going to tell their parents that sponges are invertebrate animals and that those holes on a sponge have a name! When analyzing their data, many were surprised that they had to use Math and not just their powers of observation. My favorite commentary on this was from the student who said,  " duh, scientists are smart, so of course we have to use math!" Yes, she said "we", I'm still smiling!

I think that when you look at the  Sponges completed focus page  you realize how it really helped guide my students through this lesson.

During this lesson their explanations of their results were extremely varied, for example, one student thought that the synthetic sponge was cheaper and that's why he had the results he did, to which other students quickly pointed out, that the secret is in the pores.