Shell Activity

Instructional Level: High School

Driving Question(s):

How do environmental, ecosystem and anthrogenic impacts influence or interact with the anatomical structures and functions of the eastern oyster and related conservation and restoration efforts of this keystone species?

Engagement

Oysters grow their own individual set of shells (valves) and as a result, no two oysters look alike and thus have own unique shape and form.

In this activity students will given one half of an oyster (one valve) and be asked to find their matching second half.  This activity is helpful in randomly assigning lab partners for future activities.

Objectives:

Students will:

  1. Observe and recognize the unique shape of the oyster as a bivalve.

Lesson Materials:

For Lab:

  • Paired oyster shells – no more than 1 pair of oyster shells per every 2 students
  • Container large enough to hold all oyster shells
  • Rubber bands (to keep paired shells matched at conclusion of activity)

Procedures:

Preparation

  1. Mix paired shells together in a container so that they are no longer in matched pairs.

Engage

  1. Ask students to take one shell from the container.
  2. Explain to students that each oyster grows its own individual set of shells (valves) and as a result, no two oysters look alike and thus have own unique shape and form and each single shell has only one matching shell.
  3. Have students find their matching shell.  Students should be encouraged to all get up and move around the classroom to find their match.  Once matched, student pairs should sit down to assist others in finding their match.

References:

**Use of images with permission, J. Adam Frederick**

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