The beginning of the academic year is upon us!

The beginning of the academic year is always exciting for me because it signals my return to two of my favorite activities: learning and teaching! I’m offering three courses through Athena’s Advanced Academy in the beginning half of the semester: Marine Mammals, The Rocky Intertidal Ecosystem, and In-Depth Marine Biology.

I love teaching all of my courses, but I am particularly excited to teach In-Depth Marine Biology. For one, it’s a year-long course–the first I’ve ever taught! We’re going to cover some of my favorite topics under the umbrella of marine biology. Plus, my students are wonderful and are already diving deep into the material!

I wanted to share a couple of my students’ work from the first week of In-Depth Marine Biology with you from a taxonomic classification assignment. Students were tasked with pretending that everyday objects were organisms and creating their own taxonomic system to classify these “organisms.”

I am pleased to report that students took this idea and ran with it! We had writing instrument classification…

By Aria (who correctly noted that she wouldn’t be able to tell if one of these organisms were a mimic! She created a whole timelapse video showing her experiment! This is a still from the video.)

Two different candy classifications…

By Bridget (who grouped candy in Genera and pointed out that we are missing observations over time–very thoughtful!)
This student went another direction with the taxonomy of candy (and included an amazing spreadsheet detailing each step!)

LEGO brick classification…

By Jonathan V. (who not only did a fantastic job showing the narrowing of his groups, but also arranged the taxonomic tree in the shape of a bearded anglerfish!)

And even pasta!

By Kai S. (who not only sorted by different morphological characteristics & ingredients, but also created this beautiful artistic depiction of Kingdom Pasta!)

And guess what?! There were more submissions too! The other submissions just had text, so they wouldn’t fit well in this format. But rest assured that they were all wonderful and creative too. As a class, we developed taxonomic classifications for board games, tea, and more!

I am so looking forward to seeing what my students create over the next academic year!

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