Elementary Students Learn the Survival Strategies of Squid

Elementary Students Learn the Survival Strategies of Squid photo

During the months of December and January third-grade students from both Connolly and Landing took part in a lesson series to learn about the survival strategies of squid.

This lesson series was written by District Science Coordinator Alexa Doeschner to align to the third-grade New York State Science Learning Standard for Life Science (3-LS4-2). Within this standard, students learn about variations in characteristics of different species and how these characteristics provide advantages for survival. In the first lesson, students participated in a jigsaw activity where different groups read about different anatomical parts of squid and how the structure dictated the function of these parts. Each group used chart paper to create a model of what they had learned and used their model to teach their learnings to the rest of their classmates.

After students developed an understanding of structure and function, they had the opportunity to participate in a follow-up lesson in which they dissected supermarket-bought squid in small groups. Students also had the choice to opt out of the actual dissection and were instead engaged in learning about a colossal squid examination in New Zealand. Students were so incredibly engaged with the dissection that they wanted to perform extended activities, such as separating the two parts of the beak to compare one to the other. Students were observed making connections and predicting that the size of the pen of the squid, the small remnant of a shell located inside the body, would vary in size depending on the size of the squid. The lessons were co-taught with Ms. Doeschner and third-grade teachers in both buildings, including Mr. Arnone, Ms. Barsic, Ms. Buehre, Ms. Drennan, Ms. Flower, Ms. Mazza, Ms. Oliveira, Ms. Pilewski, Ms. Simone, Ms. Tenke, Ms. Topolovec and Ms. Villella. 

Teachers were enthusiastic to turn their classrooms into a science lab space where students had the unique opportunity to learn anatomy from real-life specimens.