Direct Instruction

The learning intention for this lesson was for the students to identify the evolution of the octopus. This was part of our Genomics unit which is lead by Dr. Janie Van Hees. After discussing evolution and the tree of life, we looked at the ways animals have evolved and adapted over time. In this lesson we were looking at how octopus have evolved, as our last common ancestor was a worm, some 700 million years ago.

After working with Dr Van Hees, we watched a video about the octopus and annotated a transcript. I then set the children this task to allow them to conduct a mini inquiry.

Extended plan here


I felt that this was a really engaging way to deepen the students understanding about octopus and to internalise the information that we had previously covered. As a multi-modal site page was at the heart of the students inquiries, I knew that they were engaging with scientific and appropriate sources, but that they would choose the aspects of the octopus that interest them the most. The girls really enjoyed discussing their questions and ideas with our group and it was indicative of the kind of conversations that were occurring as I roamed the class.

Things to note

This was designed and launched as a whole class lesson. The students had about an hour to research and complete their creation, but I wanted to convey the students thinking, their conversation and part of the process that they go through when completing a mini inquiry based on a mult-modal site. As such, I pulled out these girls early on in the lesson as it was too difficult to capture this with the entire class.

Class Site Content

WALT: identify the evolution of an octopus



Watch an informative video about the octopus, before unpacking transcript in small groups.

Explore the multimodal resources to further investigate the traits that interest you the most.


Create a DLO that illustrates some of the octopus' adaptations, such as their ability to camouflage or complex nervous system.


Share your creation on your blog

Multimodal content

Initial video

Second Video

Learner selected content

Learner Generated Content


Blog Post


Blog Post


Blog Post

Danni Stone

Pt England School


Professional Blog

Manaiakalani Education Trust

PO Box 18 061, Glen Innes

Auckland, New Zealand