This activity is
an in-class, hands-on, and an online interactive activity created in
Flash technology that allows users to identify species of mussels by
choosing sets of characteristics of the mussels in question through
a series of choices.
students will be able to identify species of animals, such as various
mussels, by sets of physical characteristics as they use a key.
grade 2 - 6
Time Required: 15 minutes for identification, plus discussion
before and after
Content Link: |
Harvesting the River Online Presentation: Musseling http://www.museum.state.il.us/RiverWeb/harvesting/harvest/mussels/index.html
Illinois Mussel Species Digital Collection and Database
instructor to introduce concepts of mussel shell anatomy using actual
mussel shells or digital images of mussels shells of five different
species identification guide sheet printout or interactive game
· The instructor or leader will help students read about mussels in
the Illinois River and look at mussel species in the online database.
· The instructor will place the identification guide poster on a table
and line up five mussel shells of different species (or color cut-outs
of the specified mussel species from the online collection printouts)
across the top.
· Students will read aloud and define each set of key characteristics
that will help them to identify each species.
· Students will move one species of mussel through the sets of identifying
characteristics of the chart.
· When the mussel reaches a characteristic at the bottom of the chart,
the mussel has been identified.
· The instructor will point out that there are many hundreds of species,
some of which may have other sets of identifying characteristics, but
the principles still apply to them and to other animals.
· Students will read about mussels in the two online sources, and in
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) web site, which is a
version of the DNR poster (which can be ordered from IDNR)
· Instructor will introduce the activity by presenting a short discussion
of sets of characteristics that can be used to identify things, using
an example the students are familiar with (dogs: size, color, shape,
hair type, ear shape, etc.) and tell students that they are going to
use sets of characteristics presented by the interactive game to choose
which characteristics a mussel has as it goes through the steps of identification.
· Students will choose a mussel and make choices of characteristic it
exhibits at each step until it is identified within the set of characteristics.
Students will realize that they have successfully identified their mussel
at the end of the activity, or they will be allowed to back up and try
again to correct an error. Students will list the characteristics their
mussel(s) exhibit. They can check it against the descriptions of the
mussel on the Harvesting the River Web site and in the online
database. Students should be able to explain what they did, how sets
of characteristics are used to identify living things or species, and
how a key helps them.
Board of Education Goals and Standards:
12.A.1a Identify and describe the component parts of living things
(e.g., birds have feathers; people have bones, blood, hair, skin) and
their major functions.
12.A.2a Describe simple life cycles of plants and animals and the
similarities and differences in their offspring.
12.A.1b Categorize living organisms using a variety of observable
features (e.g., size, color, shape, backbone).
12.A.2b Categorize features as either inherited or learned (e.g.,
flower color or eye color is inherited; language is learned).
Students can arrange the mussel shells (hands-on version) in a case
with labels that tell which characteristics were identified with each
species. Students can make a poster that labels identified mussels using
images printed out from the photographic database.
PDF version of lesson