Animation


  • The Shape of Life | Sponge Animation: Spicules

    Spicules are microscopic structures of hard crystal material with fantastic shapes unique to the different species of sponge. They are part of the skeleton that helps give the sponge its shape.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Sponge Animation: Wild Ride Through a Sponge

    Along with other microscopic organisms (dinoflagellates, diatoms, bacteria, etc.), we become a tiny particle and are pulled through the canals of a sponge. Along the way we learn that sponge cells catch food and make spicules (microscopic structures that help support the sponge’s body). We are swept into the ‘heart’ of the sponge where choanocyte cells with beating flagellae produce the current that eventually carries us out of the sponge body.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Cnidarian Animation: Anenome Body Plan

    Cnidarians were the first animals to have a stomach, nerves and muscles. The anemone pulls water into its stomach to give its body rigidity so its nerves and muscles can work to create behavior. All animals have inherited the same basic structure of nerves and muscles.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Cnidarian Animation: Polyp and Medusa

    Cnidarians come in two basic shapes. An anemone is the polyp shape. If the polyp shape is turned upside down, it becomes the medusa shape of the jellyfish.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Nematocyst Animation: Feeding Tentacles

    An anemone’s tentacles are lined with nematocysts that shoot out a microscopic barbed harpoon to catch prey.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Nematocyst Animation: Fighting Tentacles

    Two anemones fight for territory using their specialized sacs (acrorhagi) loaded with nematocysts that contain toxins.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Flatworm Animation: Reproduction

    Flatworms are hermaphroditic with both male and female reproductive organs. They also have internal fertilization.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Flatworm Animation: Body Plan

    The flatworm’s bilateral body plan has a head with a brain and stereo eyes that enable it to actively hunt. Its mouth and pharynx are in the center of its underside. With no circulatory system, the gut distributes food to all parts of the body.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Flatworm Animation: Tapeworm

    Without eyes or mouths, tapeworms latch to the inside of the intestines of mammals. They produce sperm and eggs by the billions—in fact, the number of eggs generated by one tapeworm exceeds the total number of human beings alive on earth.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Annelid Animation: Body Plan

    Annelids have segmented bodies with powerful muscles, a one-way gut that runs through the body, a circulatory system and nervous system. In this video, look inside an annelid’s body to see the inner working of the first animal with a one-way gut and organ systems.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Marine Arthropod Animation: Body Plan

    Animation of the lobster’s jointed leg shows how muscles and tendons work to move the joint. A separate animation shows how the jointed appendages and body segments can easily evolve into new forms.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Arthropod Animation: Millipede Breathing Tubes

    Millpedes' bodies contain a series of reinforced tubes adapted from their exoskeletons. These tubes open directly to the outside air and draw oxygen into their bodies.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Arthropod Animation: Swiss Army Knife

    Arthropods that left the sea evolved an entire toolkit with which to thrive on land. In this animation, the blades of a Swiss army knife become the claws, legs, antennae and wings that arthropods developed to survive out of water.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Arthropod Animation: Scorpion Book Gills

    In this animation, peel back a scorpion’s exoskeleton to see how their gills adapted to live on land. Book gills are flaps located inside the scorpion's body that transfer oxygen to the blood.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Mollusc Animation: Abalone

    In this animation, look inside an abalone to see the inner workings of their extremely versatile body plan. The abalone demonstrates the basic body plan of molluscs: a foot is used for movement, a radula is a scraping tongue, and a mantle secretes the shell.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Shape of Life | Mollusc Animation: Shell Repair

    A mollusc’s shell is an example of superb structural design. The mantle deposits calcium into a protein matrix to make the shell, the inner crystalline structure prevents cracks from breaking the shell, and the mantle continually repairs the shell from the inside.

    Grades: 6-12