Thursday, February 2, 2017


Lesson 9 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day is all about "Mollusks," some seriously fascinating creatures.  This may have been one of my favorite Apologia lessons to date.
We use the Junior Zoology 2 Notebooking Journal with our text to record what we learn.
We started our study of mollusks with some reading from our text, learning all about bivalves, like clams, mussels, and oysters.  We then captured some of what we learned in our notebooking journal.
Next, we dug into our seashell collection to find some good examples of bivalve shells.
Could this one be a match?
Ever see a perfect hole in a bivalve shell like this one?  It was caused by a whelk, a sea snail, that used its radula (a razor-sharp organ that some mollusks use as a drill) to drill a hole into the shell of another mollusk so it can eat the animal within.
Bivalves comes in many sizes!
We then continued our reading to learn about pearls and scallops.  After bivalves, our study went to gastropods, or sea snails.  We also learned what conchology is (the study of shells), then had our own mini-course on Conchology, learning about conchs, whelks, winkles (periwinkles), moon snails, cowries, wentletraps, cone shells, limpets, abalones, and slipper shells.  These creatures are amazing and it was so fun to learn how to identify different shells.

We then read Clam-I-Am! All About the Beach by Tish Rabe, which talks about some of these mollusks.
We had learned a lot about clams prior when we did a book study of Cranberry Thanksgiving for our literature unit.  (You can find that post at  Here is a picture of Maggie from that post, showing off the clam shells she decorated.
We continued putting our Conchology skills to the test with another visit to our shell collection.  Here, Maggie found two of her favorite whelk shells.
Aren't mollusks amazing?! 
One of our cone shells!  We were surprised to learn that some of the mollusks that make these shells are so poisonous that they can actually kill people!
Maggie spotted barnacles on several of our shells.
A winkle/periwinkle!  (It, too, is sporting a barnacle!)
And this is our largest gastropod shell in our collection.
Conchology is so much fun!
Next, we watched the "Hold on Tight" episode of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! Surprise, Little Guys! DVD, about limpets.  I highly recommend this video with this lesson.
Here is a YouTube video version of it (  It's a bit fuzzy, but it works.
From there, we learned about nudibranchs and continued working in our notebooking journal.
Next, we read Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman, which is about exactly what the title indicates.  Maggie enjoyed seeing some of the many places God has used this shape, not just in the shells of mollusks.
It was during this study that we took a family trip to visit the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.  Beforehand, I made a checklist for Maggie to complete while there, of many of the aquatic animals we have studied to date.  (Click on the image to see it larger.)
(Here are a couple of pictures from that trip.  This one is of Mags and her Daddy outside the aquarium.)
 (This one shows Maggie inside the aquarium, petting a ray.)
Once back home, we added her completed checklist to her notebooking journal.  (One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the aquarium's four whale sharks, hence the sticker we chose to put on her sheet,)
After that, it was some more work in her journal ...
... before making our own Conchology box from some of the shells in our collection!  Now that we knew what kinds of shells we had, it was a great time to separate and label them!
I printed out the labels ahead of time.  Then, I gave her some small jewelry boxes, the labels, and some tape, and challenged her to find examples of each.  Once she found them, she placed them in separate boxes.  Together, we then attached the labels to the boxes.  It turned out great!
All of them fit nicely into this plastic shoe box.  Maggie's Conchology box was complete!
Next, we set out to learn more about resonance, that is, the vibrations on the inside of an object, caused by the vibrations on the outside of that object.  This is the reason you hear sounds when you place your ear against a gastropod shell, like a conch.  It's not the ocean you're hearing.  It's resonance.
To better understand this, we blew over the top of some differently-sized, empty bottles.  
The larger bottle had a deeper sound than the smaller bottle.  The vibrations we made on the outside of the bottles caused the vibrations on the inside of the bottles to make sounds.  This is resonance.
We recorded the results in her notebooking journal.
Finally, it was time to make her creatures for our ocean box.  We used real shells to make a gastropod (sea snail) ...
... and a bivalve, this adorable little clam Maggie made.
Love it!
These were placed in our ocean box with our other creatures!
Home sweet home!
Next up?  Cephalopods!  Check back with us!