Learning the key features of the animal and plant phyla requires some repetition and is not really much fun. So this activity tries to change that. Using a simple set of cards students learn the names of the phyla and their characteristic features
What characteristic of animals can be either "radial" and "bilateral"?
What does is each mean?
Is it possible for an animal to have both?
Activity 1 - The characteristics of animal phyla
This is a short activity to identify some simple memorable features of each phyla, and for students to note them down.
Study the cards for a few minutes and make notes about their features on the Identification of animal phyla worksheet.
(This is part of Activity 2 from the lesson; Classification of Animals which also contains short video clips of each phyla and some flashcards of the features)
Activity 2 - Happy Phyla Families
Print three copies of the happy phyla families game cards. Cut out the cards and laminate them if you wish. Students collect sets of cards all of the same phylum. It works like the classic card game "Happy Famlies" except at the end they should out, 'Happy Platyhelmintha phylum' or "happy whichever phyla they collected" once they have a full set.
This is really a warm up activity to get used to the names of the phyla
Activity 3 - Articulate Phylum characteristics
This second game involves describing the characteristic features of the animal phyla from the IB course and team-mates shout out the phyla names. It is based on the game "Articulate" and it's really helps if you have a figurine for each team and a game board.
At the end of the game students will have spent the whole lesson thinking about phyla names and their characteristic features, while having fun.
This lesson is a great compliment to the Classification of Animals lesson which goes into more detail about each of the groups. Before being able to play the games Happy families and Articulate students need to have some understanding of the characteristic features of each phylum.
This could be an activity to follow a homework task based on the classification of animals lesson. It would give value in lessons to the learning done at home. (See the blog post:Educational games)
Happy families is an easy game which gets students to look at the cards
Articulate is faster and demands that students have in memory at least one feature about each phylum. There ends up being quite a lot of repetition as students learn the easiest feature to use in the game, but this is quite good at teaching the features to each of the students, and actually helps the weaker students as much as the able ones.
On the last day of term I once used sweets as rewards - students were given as many sweets as they had correctly identified cards during the game Articulate animal phyla.
Of course this same game could be adapted to plant phlya too.