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Chapter: Biology Practicals: Biology Activities with Specimens

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Investigation of Phylum Chordata

Chordates are organisms in Kingdom Animalia with a vertebral column. There are six classes in this phylum; Reptiles, Amphibia, Mammalia, Aves, Chondrichthyes, and Osteichthyes. Such organisms differ in mode of repro-duction, respiration, habitat and structure.

Investigation of Phylum Chordata

 

Chordates are organisms in Kingdom Animalia with a vertebral column. There are six classes in this phylum; Reptiles, Amphibia, Mammalia, Aves, Chondrichthyes, and Osteichthyes. Such organisms differ in mode of repro-duction, respiration, habitat and structure.

Learning Objectives

To explain distinctive features of each class of Phylum Chordata.

Materials

Live and preserved chordates, hand drawn pictures of chordates such as rep-tiles, mammals, aves, amphibians and sh, cardboard boxes, petri dishes*, bottle cages*, and traps.

Specimens

Instructions for collecting and preserving these specimens are described in earlier

Hazards and Safety

When collecting specimens, take precautions with dangerous animals.

Preservatives like formalin maybe be poisonous and should only be handled by the teacher in a well-ventilated room.

Preparation Procedure

1.           Collect at least one specimen from each class of Phylum Chordata, for example a rat, sh, and worm. If you cannot find a specimen, photocopy the pictures from earlier sections.

2.           Collect live specimens by using traps and cut bottles from the eld. Purchase preserved sh from the market.

3.           Find or draw pictures showing chordates that can not be found in your area.

4.           Put the specimens in bottles and petri dishes. Then label them using masking tape and a marker pen.

Activity Procedure

1.           Display specimens for observation.

2.           Identify the general and distinctive features of each specimen.

3.           Group the specimens into their respective classes according to similar-ities and differences.

4.           Draw and label a specimen from each class.

Results and Conclusions

The tail of each organism should be easily observed, showing one of the main features of Phylum Chordata. Additionally, each organism will exhibit char-acteristics specific to their class. For more information about clas-sification features.

Clean Up Procedure

1.           Collect and clean all the used materials, storing items that will be used later. No special waste disposal required.

2.           Return the specimens into their respective bottles/containers for preser-vation and future use.

Notes

Some features may not be seen unless the organism is dissected. Refer to the next activity for instructions on dissection.

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