Archive for category Apologia Biology

Apologia Biology: Module 13

Phylum Chordata

Before we get started, be sure to check out the Book Extras at the Apologia Website, there are many interesting links that go along with our study of Phylum Chordata.

Looking for vertebrates in Kingdom Animalia?  They can all be found here in Phylum Chordata.  Not all of these creatures have a backbone like the one in this x-ray though; some have a notochord instead….like the creepy and vampirous Lamprey!

Just for fun, check this short video out from “Dirty Jobs” courtesy of the Discover Channel:

Here’s a link to one more short Lamprey segment from Dirty Jobs, appropriately titled, “Slippery Sucker!”.  Can you tell we found this creature a bit intriguing?

If you’d like to find more information on many of the creatures mentioned in this module, you may want to take a look at ARKive: Images of Life on Earth.  The link will take you to the page on Fish, but there are many other creatures covered on this website.  (Note: May have some evolutionary content.)   There are lots of pictures, videos and all kinds of infomation including, fact sheet, status, description, range, habitat, threats, etc.

Experiment 13:1 – Perch Dissection

Here are a couple of links that may be especially helpful for you in identifying the internal anatomy of your perch:

CumberlandK12 Schools Biology 200

Our specimen were not great quality and many of the organs were difficult to identify.   Sorry, no good pics to share here…

For the dissection, I made up a Perch Dissection Worksheet for the students to use for their Lab Notebook, instead of drawing their own illustration.   You are welcome to download it if you’d like.  Additionally, you can find information on Perch Dissection at  (Note: Click the picture to visit their website and learn more about the functions of the organs.)  For fun, they also have a Salmon Dissection Game, which is much less smelly than a real dissection!

Experiment 13.2 – Frog Dissection

We had quite a variety in our specimen for this experiment….we took pictures to share with you!  Didn’t want you to miss out! 🙂  We had everything from Steve to Rainbow Bright Frog….those were not their actual names of course. Once we got inside, Steve was promptly renamed, Plain Jane because of the presence of eggs and oviducts and due to the lack of dye!   Plain Jane did not have nearly as many eggs as Rainbow Bright.   In the end we determined, that only one frog was a male and he had the most fat bodies!  Now, get your strength up, a take a look at a few photos:

 We found the Frog Dissection Guide from Home Science Tools quite helpful to use as a guide for our dissection.  Suprisingly, each frog was very different from the next.

That’s all for this post, but don’t forget to check out these other great blogs that have resources for Module 13:

Applies PlaceSahm-I-AmBooks \’N Other Stuff

Snack Ideas that go with this Module:  You must check out Applie’s Friendly Krispy Frog

Study Link:  Flashcards & Games at

Disclaimer:  No income of any kind has been received for the promotion of links and video’s incorporated into this post.  All copyrights on those items, remain with the originator!

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Apologia Biology: Module 12 – Phylum Arthropoda

Phylum Arthropoda is home to some of my least favorite creatures….spiders and centipedes.  Oh they’re OK outside, but please stay out of my territory!  That’s all I’m saying!  However, in all fairness to this Phylum, it is also home to Shrimp Cocktail, Coconut Shrimp, King Crab Legs, and Crayfish Etouffe’.

Class Crustacea

This week’s class focused mainly on Experiment 12.1 – Crayfish Dissection.  Applie took some great pictures of her Crayfish Dissections, so be sure to check out her blog.

Class Arachnida –

While, as admitted, this is not my favorite creature, they are an amazing group!  When we first moved into our house, we had a huge banana spider take refuge just outside our dining room window.  It was amazing to watch her spin her web and catch insects.  She was quite beautiful in her own way.  At night, in the light of a nearby street light, the web made cool, yet creepy shadow on the dining room wall!  One day the “bug guy” came to spray and I ran outside to tell him not to kill the spider!  He said that was a first! 🙂  After several weeks, Charlotte got a little greedy, trapped and ate a dragonfly, and promptly fell to the ground dead!  (Photo courtesy of

That ends my tale, but check out these interesting videos….

NOVA Series Examines Strength of Spider Silk

Look at this…a Trap Door Spider…

Ever wonder, How do spiders make their web?

Here is an interesting art project: Spider Web Art Project

Class Insecta

Of the many things to learn about Class Insecta, and perhaps the most beautiful is the metamorphosis from egg to larva, to pupa, to adult.   Surprisingly, a majority insects go through this type of process.  AMAZING!   We have had the privilege of watching the metamorphosis of the Monarch, and other butterflies, over and over in our own backyard.


I cannot observe this process without being reminded of our own metamorphosis.  Romans 12:2 says, “and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (NAS)  The only other time this word is used in the Bible is in the transfiguration of Christ, mentioned in all four gospels!   Brings a little depth to our own metamorphosis, doesn’t it?  Have we undergone a complete metamorphosis, changed to an entirely new creature? Or are we stuck in the larval stage?

The remaining time in class was spent observing some very interesting insect collections; one contained many local species and the other was a collection of insects from Thailand.  Because of time limitations, for Experiment 12.2 – Insect Classification, we used the specimen in the textbook for our project.

A couple of ideas to throw in the pot: 1)  Have each student do a virtual insect collection of 10 – 20 local species, print pictures and make scrapbook-like pages for their notebooks, journal their identifications and 2) Have each student bring one or two live specimen in a jar for the class to identify and observe.

Study Link:  Flashcards & Games at

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