Did you know sharks have been on Earth longer than trees? Or that some sharks can live to be over 300 years old? Sharks and rays are closely related and are part of class Chondrichthyes, meaning fishes with skeletons of cartilage, and only their calcified teeth end up as fossils. This class also contains the chimaeras, or “ghost sharks”, which are a small subclass of deep-sea cousins with unique adaptations. The huge amount of evolutionary diversity contained within these three lineages is staggering, but they are also one of the most threatened groups of vertebrates.
Students will learn about the diversity of sharks, rays and chimaeras we have right here in the Pacific Northwest and the unique adaptations that make them so special. Preserved specimens will be displayed for students, and the workshop leader will show video footage and give a brief presentation on some of the current shark research happening at SFU. Students will complete an activity exploring the effects of different fishing methods on this vulnerable group, and/or an activity demonstrating the role sharks play in the marine food web.
- Think critically about human impacts on the natural world
- Learn about the diversity of Chondrichthyan life histories and adaptations
- Recognize the importance of seeking trustworthy sources of information before making a decision
Curriculum competencies reviewed
- Questioning and Predicting: Ask questions to address myths and misconceptions, seek to understand patterns and trends in data
- Evaluating: Consider data sources and ways to improve investigation methods as well as social and environmental implications of findings
Max group size: 25-30 students
Time Required: 1-2 hours
Appropriate level: Grade 8-11
Location: Burnaby campus
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