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Lesson summary for:
Investigating Common Descent: Formulating Explanations and Models


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Students formulate explanations and models that simulate structural and biochemical data as they investigate the misconception that humans evolved from apes.

National Academy of Sciences

Grade level:

Two class periods.

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

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

  • Similarities among existing organisms provide evidence for evolution. (LS4.A)

  • Anatomical similarities of living things reflect common ancestry. (LS4.A)

  • All life forms use the same basic DNA building blocks. (LS4.A)

  • A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7)

  • Our understanding of life through time is based upon multiple lines of evidence.

  • Scientists use the similarity of DNA nucleotide sequences to infer the relatedness of taxa. (LS4.A)

  • Scientists use anatomical evidence to infer the relatedness of taxa. (LS4.A)

  • Scientists may explore many different hypotheses to explain their observations. (P7)

Teacher background:

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