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Spineless YES...
Helpless NO!

C. Jackson
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
three to five 45 to 50 minute class periods


The oceans are filled with many unusual invertebrates. This lesson will explore these organisms and the means by which they survive in and adapt to their watery environment.

Major corporate support is provided by Canon U.S.A., Inc. and Ford.

Subject Matter

Life Science, Living Environment, or Biology

Learning Activities

Students will be able to:
  • identify the difference between invertebrate and vertebrate organisms.
  • identify various types of invertebrates and place them in zoological classes.
  • create a food web of these organisms.
  • describe how human activity can impact the oceanic environment through off-shore drilling, pollution and fishing.


From the National Science Standards available online at

Science as Inquiry
As a result of activities in grades 7-9 students should be able to develop the abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry and cultivate an understanding about scientific inquiry.

From the National Technology Standards for Students Grades 7-9 available online at

Technology as a Communications Tool
Standard #4:
Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences. Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.

Technology as a Research Tool
Standard #5:
Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources. Students use technology tools to process data and report results. Students evaluate and select new information resources and technological innovations based on the appropriateness for specific tasks.

Media Components


NATURE: "Drive to the Abyss" (episode #2003)

Web sites:

ThinkQuest: Tidepool Animals.
Complete review of organisms from echinoderms, arthropods, mollusks and cnidarians found underwater. This would be great for a comprehensive discussion of invertebrates.

Tree of Life web project.
View uncommon photos of living sea cucumbers.

Zoo Lab: A Website for Animal Biology.

A Web site filled with multiple examples of cnidarians.


For the class:
  • Various specimens of invertebrates (OPTIONAL: if you do not have any specimens, the activity can still continue).
For each pair of students:
  • Dark blindfolds (tearing dark sheets up into the appropriate quantity works well).
  • Two pieces of rope or durable string approximately two feet long.
For each student: