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Invertebrates: How To Get It Covered When You Are Running Out Of Time!

Help!  I am running out of time, and I still have the animal kingdom to cover!

This happens to me EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR!!  I really can't think of any topic in my biology class that I don't enjoy.  I am a biology nerd and I love teaching! But there are certain topics that I REALLY love and I spend too much time on them.  Cell physiology, biochemistry, cell division, photosynthesis, respiration, genetics, DNA, evolution ..... I get so excited about these, and I love the labs that go with these topics, and well, I just spend too much time on them!  Which brings me back to the purpose of this article:  I need to get the invertebrate material covered, and I have very little time to do it.

It's time to flip my classroom.

For most concepts, I prefer a traditional teaching approach. Flipping my classroom means that I am shifting the responsibility for teaching and learning to the student. The idea is that the student must study and learn the material at home, and class time is used to answer questions and clarify any misconceptions students might have about the concepts.  As I said above, I am a traditional teacher, and I prefer to teach most topics "the old-fashioned" way.  But I do believe that certain topics require less instruction from the teacher, and these topics can be covered quickly and efficiently by shifting some or all of the responsibility over to the students.

Like the invertebrates!  I want my biology students to be well versed about the origins of the animal kingdom.  They need a basic understanding of embryology, body form and symmetry, and the unique characteristics that place an animal in a particular phylum.  After a few really good lectures on embryology, I usually shift the rest of the learning over to the students. There is nothing difficult about the characteristics of each phylum, and my students often are relieved and excited for things to be a little different in the classroom.

So how will I cover the invertebrates? You are probably already familiar (hopefully!) with my warm ups and interactive notebook pages.  I use them all year long as warm ups, homework assignments, and for review and reinforcement.

For the invertebrates, I use them as a tool for flipping the learning over to the students.  Students are placed in cooperative learning groups - (groups of my own choosing, and not theirs!) - to complete the interactive pages on all of the invertebrate phyla.  I give them class time to work, but some of the work will have to be completed outside of class.  Each day, I devote time to answering questions the students might have, and focusing their attention to a few concepts that might need a little more traditional instruction.

I have my students prepare a notebook on the invertebrates.  You can get an idea of how this works from the photos below.  Click on any of the images below to view these products in my TpT store.


Each set can be purchased individually (click on each image above) or you can save money by purchasing them in a big bundle.  Use this link to view the big bundle.

I hope this gives you a few ideas of ways cover some topics quickly when you are crunched for time. Good luck in your teaching!