Man and Mollusc
Lesson Plan for Grade 9 to Grade 12


Lesson Goals:

  1. Introduce what a mollusc is and how it fits into the Linnaeous system of taxonomy ( Print out the Man and Mollusc article on Taxonomy to help you with this knowledge. This is listed on the printout check list on the main lesson plan
  2. Learn the general anatomy of five of the seven molluscan classes:
  3. Get to know where different molluscs live. (Marine, terrestrial, freshwater, desert, mountains and most likely in your own back yard)
  4. Learn why a "Key" is not so easy to make up to help in identifying shells. Have your students give it a try!
  5. DNA testing is the tool being used today to help properly place a mollusc into it's rightful family. Man shells have changed families as this method becomes more available for scientists.
  6. Learn what molluscs eat; carnivores, herbivores, parasites or omnivores
  7. Learn how molluscs move around and how are they able secure themselves so to remain firmly rooted to the spot
  8. Learn basic molluscan anatomy
  9. How do molluscs mate and grow to maturity. (Many molluscs are hermaphrodites and this might be quite a new concept for the students)
  10. How do we as humans use molluscs and why are they so important to us. Discuss food, industrial uses, medicines being produced from molluscs, etc. Print out the Man and Mollusc article on Man's Uses of Molluscs to help you with this knowledge. This is listed on the printout check list on the main lesson plan
  11. How are molluscs like other animals and how are they different
  12. How do molluscs relate with their environment. Many can become environmental pests while others are being farmed (Aquaculture, mariculture heliciculture) to help fee the world. Molluscan pets especially in salt -water aquarium are also the in thing today.
  13. How do molluscs interact with the environment. Many are friends, pests or even kept as pets.
  14. How do environmental problems prove disastrous to molluscs? Such things as loss of environment through oil spills, dynamiting coral reefs for the coral and fish, dredging sand for beaches, raking the ocean floor for food thus destroying the mollusc's home, habitat destruction such as deforestation wiping out or severally endangering terrestrial molluscs, molluscan problems such as the accidental introduction through the emptying of ship's ballast tanks which often carry the veliger state of many molluscs such as the zebra mussel which is now a serious infestation in the Great Lakes, plus many more problems.


Shell Hands-on Activities:

  1. Have your students bring in any shells that they might have personally. Place each child's shells in a zip lock bag and label them well
  2. Teachers, you may want to set up a classroom habitat terrarium, aquarium or a similar display. See instructions on how to do this in the main lesson plan and encourage your students to assist in this project
  3. Bring in edible shells that are purchased from grocery stores or from sea food markets so that the children can actually see the animal, not just its shell. If to be kept for a few days, these may be preserved in rubbing alcohol
  4. Set up a shell display and have the children try to place the shells into the correct class. Be sure to print out the "Visual Shell Kit" available and you and your students may actually be able to label the genus and species of the shell
  5. If real energetic and you have a good parent help system in place; you may even put on a molluscan meal. (Try clam chowder, fried scallops, escargot in garlic butter. There are many great shell fish recipes available both on the Man and Mollusc Edible Molluscan Data Base at: molluscan_food_mp.html or on the WWW.


Articles and Trivia Time:

  1. Borrow Molluscan books from your school library or town library
  2. Use articles such as Amazing Molluscan Facts:which is listed as a print out
  3. Use Man and Mollusc's: Advanced Introduction to the Molluscs or the information presented in the general lesson plan which is listed on the general check list of print outs


Discussion Time:

  1. Discuss what your students have learned so far from this lesson plan
  2. Let your students tell you about shell stories or trivia they may know.
  3. A great discussion can be around how shells have been used and how they may be used in the future.
  4. Environmental importance and problems also is a great discussion topic. ( E.g.. Molluscs; Friends of foes?)


Miscellaneous Activities:

  1. Have students draw a Gastropod, Bivalve, a Cephalopod, Polyplacophora, and a Scaphopoda
  2. Printout and have the students label basic molluscan anatomy pages provide on the checklist
  3. Have students create a report with accompanying hand drawings of what they have learnt about molluscs.
  4. Encourage them to create their own snail stories, limericks, poems etc.
  5. Make a classroom poster or collage or diorama


More Ideas:

  1. Field trips are great for students. Go to the ocean, beach and or tide pools, lakes, streams or other area that molluscs can be found. Plan this well in advance so as to be not disappointed by not locating molluscs. See the general lesson plan to help you arrange for such a trip
  2. Find out if there is a shell club of a shell collector in your area that may be willing to come out and speak to your class
  3. Museums, aquarium's if available are other great field trips but plan well ahead


Careers: Marine and Molluscan-Related Professional Careers are discussed on Man and Mollusc's WWW Resource page at: /links_career.html

  1. Learn what a Marine Biologist does
  2. What is a Conchologist:
  3. What is a Malacologist