Animal Diversity Module

The purpose of the “Animal Diversity” module is to share with students our excitement and enthusiasm over the amazing diversity of living organisms. Its goal is to introduce students to the tremendous diversity of life in the animal kingdom, so that students can then discuss similarities and differences between the various phyla, and the progression of changes that allow animals to adapt to their specific environments.


- chart from

We introduce the students to phyla in the animal kingdom, concentrating on nine phyla (out of about 35). We discuss the similarities and differences that define the groups.
For example, we might show a preserved specimen of a jellyfish, pointing out the tentacles and discussing how they sting to immobilize their prey. Then we all switch to a microscope connected to a wide-screen monitor which is focused on live hydra who, like the jellyfish, also use tentacles to sting their prey. We drop in a few water fleas, which hydra love to eat, and watch the hydra go to work. (This can get pretty intense for the students, since we never know whether or not a particular hydra is going to succeed in catching a water flea or whether the water flea is going to succeed in getting away. Some kids cheer for the predator, some for the prey.)

Dr. David Blaustein created Animal Diversity in 1999
Animal Samples
Millie the Millipede is a Bio-Bus star!
Animal Diversity can be brought indoors if needed


Grade Level: preK – 5th, 7th

Where Taught: On the Bio-Bus only

# Students: up to 15 students per session, plus a chaperone

Time needed for presentation: 30-45 minutes, plus 5 minutes transition time between sessions; we require a full 45 minutes to show the microscopic animals

Georgia Performance Standards: Kindergarten 1 a, b, 2 a, c, d, e; 1st grade 1 b, d; 2nd grade 1 a; 3rd grade 1 d; 4th grade 2 a, b; 5th grade 1 a; 7th grade 1 a, b, 4 a, b, c, d.