Crayfish – In All Its Glory!

Wow.  Didn’t realize it has been over a MONTH since I last posted.

We continue our dissection series with the Crayfish.  As I have said before, I get our specimens from Carolina.   They come in a well sealed bucket and the specimens are awesome.

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Below I am handing out the crayfish to the students.  Please note two things:  The beautiful specimen and the expression on daughter’s face.  The specimens are in excellent color and shape.  They are something to oooh and awwww over, but my daughter just does not understand that.

After this experiment, I excused the daughter from future dissections.  The poor thing could not eat for the rest of the day and looked rather green.  I never thought I would excuse any student, especially one of my kids, from dissections.

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Obliviously some legs were removed from the crayfish below.   Not everyone is disgusted by them. LOL   First line of business is to examine the exterior.

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Then we have a look at the inside.  With some effort the Carapace is removed from the body.

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Gills and other pieces parts are exposed and examined.

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More examination of the parts.  Sketches and labels are done.

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And then it looks like the Crayfish just exploded.   What can I say?  When the students begin they usually don’t stop until there is nothing left.   Except for my daughter who did as little as possible. :)

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I did not use photos in a PowerPoint this time, but I do have some nice photos you can use.  I will post them  in a few days after I have posted about the Perch and Frog.  You may save them and use them for your classroom, if you wish.


Invertebrates – Continued

Exploring Creation with Biology – Module 11  Invertebrates :D  Ya’ll know you want to hear more about worms.  Plus some other goodies I want to share.

See yesterday’s post.


  • Kingdom:  Animalia
  • Phylum:  Annelida (segmented worm)
  • Class: Clitellata (has a clitellum)
  • Order: Haplotaxida
  • Family: Lumbricidae  (33 species)
  • Genus: Lumbricus

Some interesting facts I found around on the web.

  • Length can be around 3 inches to 11 inches
  • Roughly 2700 different kinds of earthworms
  • In 1 acre of land there can be more than 1 million worms.
  • Largest worm found was 22 feet long. South Africa.  :shock:
  • Worms are cold blooded
  • Baby worms hatch from cacoons
  • If their skin dries out they die
  • If their skin absorbs too much water, they drown.
  • They are made of 80% water.
  • Worms are excellent composters and are used in many compost piles.  See Vermicomposting.
  • They aerate the soil and move nutrients around.
  • They have both male and female sexual reproductive organs.
  • They usually live 3 to 4 years.

And here are the awesome photos that I showed in a powerpoint.  Yep, oversized in your face worm guts.


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Pretty aren’t they?  Feel free to copy and use in your class.  You could even use them for wallpaper in your bedroom.   You’re welcome!

Let’s back track to the beginning of the module, because I totally forgot to blog about it.

There are three types of symmetry: Spherical Symmetry, Radial Symmetry, and Bilateral Symmetry.   Humans are Bilateral.  To prove that we may look the same on the left and right sides, but actually are not, I took mugshots of each of the students.  Them I promptly lost a couple somewhere inside my computer and had to use different photos that were not really mugshots.

I tried to slice the faces (That sounds bad, doesn’t it?), straight down through the nose.  These kids didn’t look weird as previous students.  I was seriously bummed about that, but you can still see a difference when the left sides are paired together and the right sides are paired together.




That was fun. :)

Now on to my favorite videos for this module.  I whole heartily belive sometimes you need a video done in real life to get the wow factor in Biology.  Just learning how a sponge pulls water through its walls and out its osculum isn’t as exciting as seeing the real thing.

Barrel Sponge Filtering Water  – really nice video showing a sponge filtering water.  Must see, of course.

Oh and jellyfish or other animals that have nematocysts that sting.  Yeah, not so exciting as seeing the real thing.  Here are two videos for you.

Nematocysts Firing – no sound

Jellyfish Stinging Microscopic Slow Motion – This video is just over 6 minutes but worth watching.   It does speak of evolution, so please preview before showing to the students.

Moon Jellyfish Life Cycle – no sound.

As always, don’t read the comments on YouTube.  Want a way to see the videos without all the comments and unwanted videos on the side?  I use Keepvid to download the videos and then show them to the class.

Wow, this is a long post. Thank you for reading it!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Read what we have done in the past here.


With many groans, I handed out the worms.  This tube of 12″ Earthworms is from and all were in excellent juicy shape!

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Once the first one was out, most of the students were looking forward to the experiment.

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Except one.  I had to remind everyone in the class that there are NO WIMPY kids in my Biology class.

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I talked a few minutes about each of the systems:  Digestive, Nervous, Circulatory, and Reproductive.  The slimy tube reference in the Reproductive System didn’t go over too well with the students. I kinda went very fast through that system and told them to make sure they read that section.  LOL

First thing first, touch it. :D  You can name it if you want to.

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The dissection lab and the write-up will be the hardest grade the student will earn.  I warned them with this email message.  Feel free to copy it to you students.  It worked wonders and all had their lab write-ups prior to class.  Next week, I’ll get their final write-ups and let you know how they did.

Ok Students, listen up!

Commence lecturing…

You must have your Exp. 11.3 Worm Dissection, written up before coming to class.  You must read this module before coming to class.  For this experiment you will only be using your notes.  Since lab write-ups are to be written in such a way that anyone can pick it up and perform the experiment, you should be able to complete this assignment without any help from me. laugh

Points to remember:

  • Your lab must be written-up prior to class.
  • Leave your books at home. You don’t need them in class this Tuesday.
  • You will be sketching. Please bring UNLINED paper for your sketches.  This is a High School college prep course. Step up to it.
  • You will make the sketches in a reasonable size.  One inch sketches are not acceptable. Huge kindergarten sketches are not acceptable.
  • Use pencil, not a pen.  Cover your pencil in plastic wrap to protect it from worm guts.  I do have gloves, but they are not to be used for the pencil.
  • You will take your time with this dissection.  You will make detailed sketches. You will not make sloppy sketches.  You will learn something.  You will NOT finish this in 5 minutes.
  • If you need a surgical mask, please bring it.
  • If you need to step out of the room for some air, please do so and come right back.
  • Every student will dissect their own worm.  Every student will complete this dissection.  I know there are no wimpy students in my Biology class.  yes

You have been writing labs since the beginning of this class.  Some of you have done well, some of you have done ok, and some of you have not done so well.  The dissection write-ups will be graded the hardest out of all our write-ups.  Please keep this in mind and do an excellent job with your write-ups.

Terminate lecturing….

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Getting the first cut is a little nerve wracking for the kids.  It isn’t easy to judge how far you should cut through the skin, but it all went well.

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Except for the ones that went a little too far.  Yep, not much left to see there!  Thankfully, I had visuals.   Bigger than life photos of previous dissections.  I will post them tomorrow for your enjoyment. My favorite videos for this module wil also be posted. :)

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Only one student brought in a mask. I couldn’t smell it very much, but some of the kids could.  Carolina Biologicals do not use You can read about our specimens from Carolina  here.

Quotes from Carolina: Carolina’s Perfect Solution® – an alternative to formaldehyde – is a revolutionary fixative that produces superior specimens while improving the safety of your classroom or lab. Tissues and organs are extremely lifelike and retain better color and texture than with other preparations.

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Here is a pretty good cut, but this student needed to cut a few more of the septa.  The Septa is the string like thing that separates the worm into sections.  Once you slice those, your worm can be pinned back and expose the organs better.  Was that TMI?

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I would love to say that ALL the students enjoyed this, but… I can’t. Guess who this kid belongs to.

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Hey Wife! Look what I got out of ……

the neighbor’s garbage!

Yes, that is what I heard one day last September and this is what he pulled out of the garbage.


A Universal sewing maching.


It even came with the manual and a blow out image of all the pieces parts.


I immediately texted my friend, Georgeann, and asked if this should go back to the garbage.  She said she would take it off my hands if I wanted to get rid of it, which told me I should keep it. LOL

Georgeann is an awesome seamstress and she has started her own business of repairing sewing machines.  So, I went to her house to show her my garbage machine.  Parts of it wasn’t working.

Georgeann tinkered with it in her shop.  Turned the knobs this way and that way.


Took off the top to have a look at the parts, clean it and oil it.


She also wiped down the outside and checked under the machine.  That machine is REALLY heavy!

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While she did all the work, I looked around her shop.  She had this really cute tool tray that makes her really organized.  I liked it so much I bought a smaller version for myself.  That’s all I got, a tool tray.  No tools, no brushes, no anything.  One day it will be filled and my husband will not be allowed to use any of my tools.


Besides a really cool tool tray, she has a collection of really nice old machines. LOTS of old machines.


Lots and Lots of machines.  All working or getting ready to be.  This is just a fraction of the machines she has in her shop.  I wish I had take some pictures in the back.  So many awesome machines.


She has some in her house too.  My favorite one is from the 50’s and I forgot to take a picture of it!  I’ll have to have her send me a photo of it, so I can share it with you.  She offered to sell it to me, if she decided to sell it.   I sadly said no because I don’t need it.  It is now February and all I have done with this garbage machine is make a few practice stitches.  I also have a cheap plastic machine and an old Singer White Machine.

Summers coming, maybe I’ll have more time to sew something then.  I’ll be sharing more about this machine later.  It has some great features.

Module 10 – Ecology

Once again we got busy in class and I forgot to take pictures.  We didn’t do anything extra special with this module.  I did some research on the Australia Rabbit problem and found some interesting information.  I have linked here to several of the sites I visited.

Animal Control Technology   – very interesting read on the rabbits biology, breeding, and population control.

Feral Rabbits in Australia

Rabbit-proof Fence – Wikipedia, which I don’t like to use, but couldn’t find anything else on the history of the fence without getting information on the movie.

This is my favorite photo. :)

List of favorite YouTube videos for Mutualism.

Ant Army Defends Tree

Goby Fish and Shrimp

The second class day of this module was devoted to the four cycles: The Water Cycle, The Oxygen Cycle, The Carbon Cycle, and The Nitrogen Cycle.  It was boring.  I am being honest here, it was just plain boring.  So, to get the students to stay awake, I had them come to the board and fill in the blanks.


Always love seeing the sketches. LOL  As I have said before, if I can tell what it is, I am good with it.  :D


Module 8 – Continued

We continue with Module 8 – Genetics in Exploring Creation with Biology.  I made the schedule in such a way that gave the students three weeks off for Christmas.  We went over the first half of the module before the break, made Spudoodles, and had a mini-vacation.  They did have required reading just before returning and I must say they did a great job.

This week we worked on Punnet Squares.  Experiments 8.2 and 8.3 are not required lab write-up, because I have the students filling out a worksheet during class time.  That means no homework other than the test for the rest of this week.  That makes happy students. :)

We have been blessed with an Intelliboard at co-op.  I have in the past used it as it should be, an interactive board.  However; our internet connection at co-op is not reliable and most of the time I can’t get the board and my computer to talk.  So, I now use it as a projector and a white board.

I had plans on taking pictures of the students doing their work, but we got very busy, very fast and I forgot.   You get to look at blank Punnet Squares.  lol

In Power Point, I created three Punnet Squares.

All punnet squares

Since the Intellaboard is a regular white board also, I was able to project these on the board and write over the squares.   We went over several examples and I emphsized how  Dr. Wile’s likes to ask questions.

For example:  If the trait is Large and the genotype is LL = large  Ll = large  ll = small.  If the question is,  if a heterozygous large tree crossed with a homozygous tree, the student is going to need to know the difference between heterozygous and homozygous.  It makes them put on their thinking caps. :D

Done with the tip.

For the assignement, each student has Punnet Square worksheets.  You can print them from here:  1×1 square    2×2 square     4×4 square

punnet square 4x4

I forced each student to participate, which meant they had to come up to the board and fill in two squares. :) Each student filled in their worksheet also.  They did a very good job with it. After completeing the squares, they worked on the percentage problem.  The outcome was written at the bottom of the page.

Here is photo of a 4×4 Punnet Square.  Yes, this is the actual student’s worksheet with the correct answers.   You can find the answers for all of the squares in the Solution Manual under Module 8.


Easy-peasy A for this experiment.  The students concentrated on the work instead of writing up a lab that really didn’t need to be written up.   That’s my opinion anyway.

Experiment 8.4 was skipped for lack of time.  No one wants to do an experiment during a Christmas break.

Now we are skipping Module 9 for the time being and heading over to Module 10 – Ecology.  That means I need to work on my larger than life food web.

What are you doing in Biology right now?





New Years Day

It started five months ago, when a Ravelry  member posted how she uses her Tom Bihn bags on her  Townie Bike.  It looked so comfortable, I asked about it.

It is a comfort bike, pedals forward, upright seating position, and you can place your feet flat on the ground when you stop.   So, I started checking them out.

Just before Christmas, we visited Bicyles Etc.  They had many Townies in stock, but not one 21 speed.  After talking with them for a while, I tried out the Trek Shift 2.0 and liked it so much better than the Townie.   Christmas morning Sir Husband presented me with cash to buy the bike.  December 26th, we buy it and had fenders put on.

January 1, 2015, a beautiful day, we head out to Junlington-Durbin Perserve.

Looks like I have a big head!

Looks like I have a big head!

This is an easy trail to ride, except for a few sandy or muddy spots.   We went down the wrong trail and ended up at water, which is always fun to see.


This was a short trail we didn’t mean to go down, but glad we did.


After turning around, we got back on the right trail.


This is such a pretty place, I hope to return to it soon.  I’d love to geocache here.


The Trek bike did a great job and I am so glad I went with this one.


Next thing to save up for is a basket, rack, and panniers.

I am so looking forward to riding this bike everywhere. :)