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A Living Fossil - the American Horseshoe Crab
This classroom lesson from Clemson University helps middle school students understand the natural and evolutionary history and anatomy of the American Horseshoe Crab. Students learn to recognize and explain adaptations made by horseshoe crabs, aquatic marine invertebrates that have survived for more than 350 million years. The PowerPoint presentation introduces students to the crab's physical structure and ecology, diet, nesting and mating habits, threats to its existence, and keys to its survival. A preserved or live horseshoe crab specimen is necessary for this lesson, which also contains instructions for ordering a horseshoe crab model for each student.
Program Director: Barbara Jean Speziale, Ph.D.
Award Years: 1998, 2002, 2006
Summary: Clemson University is a public research university in Clemson, South Carolina. Its HHMI-funded initiatives include:
- Interactive research communities for undergraduates from Clemson and three historically black colleges and universities;
- Extensive professional development opportunities, including graduate-level courses in bioengineering, bioinformatics and other topics, and summer and short-term courses on natural history, for middle and high school teachers;
- Two CD series that aid students and teachers in learning about various components of South Carolina ecosystems: the SC LIFE Image CD Series, consisting of hundreds of images of invertebrates and vertebrates, and the SC LIFE Interactive CD series, which explores the diversity of flora and fauna in the five physiographic regions of the state; and
- Programs, including laboratory field trips, for middle and high school students to improve their knowledge and understanding of biodiversity and natural history using multidisciplinary curriculum materials that are also available online.