Crayfish Life Cycle

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Students will be able to compare and contrast the life cycles of crayfish and plants.

Big Idea

Learning the life cycle of a living organism is easy. Comparing and contrasting that cycle with another is more rigorous, and more worthy of time.


5 minutes

Today we will research the life cycle of a crayfish.  However, in order to make the lesson more rigorous, the guiding question will be, "Do all living things have similar life cycles?"

As the students consider this thought, I will place one of the life cycle posters up from our plant unit.  

Mini Lesson

10 minutes

We will review each of the stages and talk about what we see in each stage. If you don't have something like this, you may want to visit this website for a sample life cycle. 

During this review, I will also supply the students this compare and contrast organizer, which we will begin to fill out together using plants as our topic. 


Active Engagement and Closing

30 minutes

I want my students to become researchers in their scientific journey.  Therefore, I armed them with an article on the crayfish lifecycle from our FOSS kit and asked them to work individually, or with partners, to organize information.  

As my students work, I prompt them with questions.  In doing this, I am helping them to organize their thinking, communicate learning, and dig more deeply into what it all might mean.

In this clip, I work with the two girls to make sense of a stage in the cycle.  One student thinks it is the first stage, while the other believes it may be the last.  Can they both be right? 

This student was writing in his information about plants and needed some support in finding the right terms to communicate clearly. 

As the students finish up, I ask them to share what they find similar and different in the two life cycles.  Most students responded that they noticed the first stages needed the "baby" to hatch, or break through.  They also noted that there was an "adult" before the process began again. 

I then asked the students to think about putting words that we use to explain stages of people's lives to one of their stages.  One student talked about the crayfish as "an embryo, baby, teenager, adult, and an elderly person"!