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Activity: Comparing Echinoderms

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:

NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:


  • Table 3.12



Fill in Table 3.12 with information on echinoderms from the text and the previous activities. Wherever possible, focus on similarities and differences of structure, function, and behavior.



Activity Questions: 
  1. Echinoderm tube feet
    1. What are tube feet? Write a clear definition in your own words.
    2. How do tube feet operate in echinoderm locomotion?
    3. How are tube feet adapted to different uses in the groups of echinoderms?
    4. Compare echinoderm locomotion to modes of locomotion used by other invertebrate phyla. Discuss in terms anatomy, life history, and body symmetry.
  2. Echinoderm skeletal structures
    1. How are skeletal structures similar across all echinoderm groups?
    2. How does the arrangement of skeletal structures differ in sea urchins, sea stars, and brittle stars?
    3. How do these differences establish the way these animals move?
  3. How do sea urchins, brittle stars, sea cucumbers, and crinoids protect themselves from predators attempting to eat them?
  4. Explain how the features listed in Table 3.12 serve as adaptations that might improve the survivability of an echinoderm.

Table of Contents:

Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.