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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

Lesson summary for:
Discovering the great tree of life

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Overview:
This short video introduces basic concepts in phylogenetics and provides a model to help understand lineage-splitting.
This resource is available from the Peabody Museum of Natural History

Author/Source:
Peabody Museum of Natural History

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
10 minutes

Teaching tips:
This video provides a brief and intriguing introduction to phylogenetics. It would make a good opener for a unit in which students learn more about evolutionary trees and work with phylogenies.

Concepts:
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Through billions of years of evolution, life forms have continued to diversify in a branching pattern, from single-celled ancestors to the diversity of life on Earth today.

  • Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry. (LS4.A)

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (P6, NOS2)

  • Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data. (P2, P3, P4, NOS1)

  • Accepted scientific theories are not tenuous; they must survive rigorous testing and be supported by multiple lines of evidence to be accepted. (NOS2, NOS4)

  • Science is a human endeavor. (NOS7)

  • Evolutionary trees (i.e., phylogenies or cladograms) are built from multiple lines of evidence.

Teacher background:

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