Get some backbone!



Know how to capture the undying attention of any group of kids?

Yep. Candy. Works every time.





I gathered a couple types of marshmallows, Twizzlers, M&Ms, gummy bears and fruit loops for this lesson on invertebrates and vertebrates. We can talk about the differences, but sometimes it’s just good fun to illustrate the point. And we did … much to each child’s sweet tooth’s content.





Here you have the invertebrates.

The Twizzler represents a worm. No backbone, just squishy innards. The gummy bears and marshmallows are also spineless creatures. Insects like grasshoppers, crabs and cockroaches are represented by the M&Ms. You know, coated in an exoskeleton and soft in the center.

We had more fun with the vertebrates.





Vertebrates pleased their palates.

See those candy-coated peanuts? Those are turtles. Turtles are vertebrates, and they have both an endo- and exoskeleton. Fish also have backbones. And our squishy gummy bears became true vertebrate bears with the help of a toothpick. Incidentally, that coconut-covered marshmallow represents mammals. Mammals are vertebrates. 

On this plate the Twizzlers represent snakes. Snakes have backbones, as do humans. And just to show they know a backbone when they see one, they made Fruit Loop spines.

The marshmallows on the Twizzler illustrate the flexibility of the human spine … although I’m not so sure mine will bend quite like this example does.





Oh. I can’t forget salamanders.

They’re vertebrates, too.


Happy sugar shock!


Go exploring! You may enjoy these previous posts.


  • comment-avatar
    Mother Goose October 14, 2010 (7:31 am)

    That looks like a fabulous lesson! Glad you were having fun while you learned!!! :+)

    PS The marshmallow is a perfect representation of this mammal!

  • comment-avatar
    Jane October 14, 2010 (9:12 am)

    I love it! And it looks yummy, too. 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Laurie October 14, 2010 (9:25 am)

    Keep blogging about your lessons- it blows the cobwebs off things I used to know. And I love your creativity in teaching!