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Lesson Plan

Clam study: the shell, the internal anatomy and how they feed

Compare different sizes of shells and learn about how shells grow. Dissect a clam and discover that inside a familiar clam shell, often seen on the beach, there is a living animal. Identify the major body parts of a clam, and compare their function to equivalent organs in people. See a model of filter feeding to understand better how clams eat.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Biology: Features, Adaptations of Living Things (K, 1, 3, 7)
Biology: Classification of Living Things, Biodiversity (1, 3)
Biology: Life Cycles (2)
Biology: Sensing, Organ Systems (4, 5, 6)

Activity: looking at the outside of a clam.

Activity: looking at the inside of a clam.

Activity: filter feeding model to better understand how a clam eats.

Closure Discussion:
We see empty clam shells and maybe live clams on our local beaches. This lesson shows students what was or is inside every one of those shells: a living animal with body parts similar to their own that help the clam feed, breathe and move.

Grades taught: 
Gr 1
Gr 2
Diane Merchant
Julie Kawaguchi
Teaching Site: 
Weir Elementary
Lesson plan originally developed and delivered: 

Scientist in Residence Program, Vancouver School District with teachers Ms. Kawaguchi and Ms. Merchant.
Lesson plan at