Brought to
you by
Available on catch-up

Life cycles and baby coral

Students will meet Dr Kristen Marhaver, a marine biologist at the CARMABI research station, and an expert on coral reproduction. Kristen will introduce students to the different stages of the coral life cycle from spawning to a multi-polyp animal. Kristen will bring different specimens from her laboratory to share, and perhaps students will see her feeding some of the baby corals.

Broadcast on Tue 9 Nov 2021
  • 45 mins
  • Ages 7-11
Learning Outcomes

Living things and their habitats

  • Describe the life cycle of an animal
  • Observe and compare the life cycles of plants and animals in the local environment with other plants and animals around the world
  • Suggest reasons for similarities and differences in animal life cycles

If you have never joined a live lesson before, see the guidance hub, where you will find technical and educational support.

In preparing for this lesson, it may be useful to think about three areas for potential preparation. It is useful, but not necessary if your students have some background knowledge about corals, and you can use the one-off Coral Live prep lesson or a lesson from the Coral Oceans unit for ages 7-11.

This lesson asks students to think about comparing the life cycle of a coral to life cycles of animals in students’ local environment, and it would be useful if students have covered this already in some way before the lesson.

You can find some background information about Kristen on her website. It is quite high level, but is great for teachers and parents as background reading and viewing.

Questions generated by your class can be submitted via the Encounter Live tab in your Encounter Edu profile.

Session outline

1. Introduction (5 mins)

Jamie will open the live lesson with a welcome and introduction to Coral Live and the CARMABI research station, as well as giving shout outs to students and schools.

2. Meet Kristen (5 mins)

Students get to know Kristen and her research, as well as a sense of the work of a marine biologist.

3. Subject knowledge (10 mins)

Using examples from her lab, Kristen will explain the life cycle of a coral and some of the similarities and differences with animals that may be more familiar to students watching.

4. Feeding baby corals (10 mins)

Corals are amazing animals, reproducing both sexually and asexually and feeding with their tentacles and receiving energy from algae living in their tissue. Kristen will show, under a microscope and UV light, how a coral polyp feeds.

5. Q&A (15 mins)

Kristen will answer as many questions from students as possible abou both coral and life as a scientist.


Coral Live 2018 Jamie Buchanan Dunlop

Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop

Executive Director, Encounter Edu

Coral Live 2018 Kristen Marhaver

Dr Kristen Marhaver

Marine Biologist, CARMABI

Brought to you by