Learning Exercise

Comparative Reproduction and Development

Students compare the reproductive strategies of several microscopic organisms to those of zebrafish. Procedures for raising a large enough
supply of these microscopic organisms to sustain a zebrafish population that consumes the organisms is used to introduce the concept of "protocols" for inquiry. Reproduction and development of the microscopic organisms is then compared to what happens when zebrafish and humans reproduce to show why
ZEBRAFISH is a better model of human reproduction and development than the microscopic organisms.
Course: SCED 453: LIFE SCIENCE CONCEPTS for K-8 Teachers

This web was made by Dr Mark A. Hill, a Lecturer in the School of Anatomy, University of New South Wales, and Head of... see more



and Development


Explain to an elementary
teacher how to raise a population of microscopic organisms that can be
used to feed zebrafish. Write so that the teacher understands why one would
do this to raise zebrafish rather than simply using the microscopic organism
to teach about human life cycles.

Your response should
be your own and it should demonstrate your proficiency with non-experimental
science (i.e. observation, grouping, ordering, describing, and comparing).

PROMPT .  Include your protocol describing how best to raise
the type of microorganism you worked with for two class periods (paramecium,
artemia, or Daphnia) along with your explanation of why these organisms
will not be studied as a model of human reproduction and development.


Use source material
from two sources:

  1. Your own observations
    plus print or Internet resources you used when deciding how to raise the
    population of organisms as a source of zebrafish food.

  2. The External Links
    listed as Source Material Resources

Material Resources: 
Encyclopedia on Reproduction
How much of this information would you make available to children? 

URL: http://encarta.msn.com/find/Concise.asp?z=1&pg=2&ti=05354000
Under week 1, go to Teachers Note - (Notes that are not yet complete)
for links to other movies of embryo growth. The Other Embryos pages
provide comparative information on different embryos. 

URL: http://anatomy.med.unsw.edu.au/CBL/Embryo/K12/embryo.htm
Embryo Development
assignment resource 

URL: http://www.med.unc.edu/embryo_images/unit-welcome/welcome_htms/akgs.htm
Manual for Zebrafish Breeding
assignment resource 

URL: http://www.neuro.uoregon.edu/k12/ZFABZs.html
assignment resource 

URL: http://depts.washington.edu/fishscop/


Explain how to
raise a population of microscopic organisms that can be used to feed zebrafish.
Name the microorganism that you raised and describe what you did to make
the population grow. Write about the steps that should be taken to MAXIMIZE
the size and number of individuals in your population so that all the zebrafish
will have plenty of microscopic living organisms to consume.

To help teachers
become successful zebrafish breeders, you should define your protocol so
that any elementary school teacher can use it - and will know what resources
to consult in case of problems.

Compare the reproductive
strategies of your microscopic organism to those of zebrafish. Explain
the necessary procedures for raising a large enough supply of your microscopic
organisms to sustain a zebrafish population.

Finally, compare
reproduction and development of your microscopic organism to what happens
when zebrafish and humans reproduce. Show why ZEBRAFISH is a better model
of human reproduction and development than your microscopic organism. Then
explain the limits to using zebrafish as a model of human reproduction
and development. Make sure the teacher knows how zebrafish reproduction
and development compares with human reproduction and development.

Caution: do your
OWN work and acknowledge your information sources!

Additional Information: http://cpr.molsci.ucla.edu

Technical Notes

Students have worked together using Zebrafish guidelines presented at http://www.neuro.uoregon.edu/k12/zfk12.html Students pursue independent research about development until they feel qualified to respond to the writing prompt.


Students have raised Daphnia, Artemia (brine shrimp), and Paramecium as food sources for zebrafish adults and juveniles. They can express measures for quantities using appropriate units and they can search a biological supplies catalog such as the Carolina Math and Science catalog at http://www.carolina.com/


Sexual and asexual reproduction, development

Learning Objectives

California Commission on Teacher Credential (CCTC) goals for Multiple Subject Teacher Candidates (K-8 teachers) Domain 2: Life Science
2.1 Structure of Living Organisms and Their Function: Describe the functions of reproductive systems, and 2.3 Life Cycle, Reproduction, and Evolution (a) Explain factors that affect growth and development, such as gravity, light, and stress.
(b) Describe life cycles of familiar organisms.
(c) Know how evidence from the comparative anatomy of microorganisms, zebrafish, and humans can be used to support the theory that life gradually evolved on earth over billions of years.
CCTC Part II: Subject Matter Skills and Abilities Applicable to the Content Domains in Science: Communicate the steps in an investigation and communicate the results of a scientific investigation in written format.