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Invertebrate Diversity

In the lab, Invertebrate Diversity, students compare the external anatomy and locomotion of earthworms, mealworms, crickets and crayfish, all of which can be purchased at low cost from local pet stores.  Discussion questions help students understand the evolutionary basis of observed similarities and differences. This activity can be used as an introduction to the Annelid and Arthropod phyla and the principle that form matches function.

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

Download Teacher Preparation Notes: PDF format or Word format

We invite comments on this Hands-On Activity and the accompanying Teacher Preparation Notes, including suggestions for other teachers who are planning to use the activity, useful preparatory or follow-up activities, additional resources or any questions you have related to the activity, or a brief description of any problem you might have encountered. If you have a relevant Word document you would like to have posted on this comments page, such as a version of the protocol you have used in your classroom, or if you would prefer to send your comments or questions in a private message, please write Ingrid Waldron at

See also a complete list of activities:
Hands-on Activities for Teaching Biology to High School and Middle School Students



iwaldron's picture

2011 revisions

The student handout has been revised to improve student understanding of the main teaching points.  The revised discussion questions help students to understand the evolutionary basis of the similarities and differences among the invertebrates they have observed.

iwaldron's picture

2009 revisions


The revised Student Handout provides improved questions, and the revised Teacher Preparation Notes provide improved advice for preparing and teaching this activity.


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