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Classification and Evolution


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Students construct an evolutionary tree of imaginary animals (Caminalcules) to illustrate how modern classification schemes attempt to reflect evolutionary history.

Gendron, Robert

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.

  • Biological evolution accounts for diversity over long periods of time. (LS4.A, LS4.D)

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

  • During the course of evolution, only a small percentage of species have survived until today.

  • An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.

  • The fossil record documents the biodiversity of the past.

  • The fossil record contains organisms with transitional features.

  • The fossil record documents patterns of extinction and the appearance of new forms.

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

  • Natural selection acts on the variation that exists in a population. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Classification is based on evolutionary relationships.

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

Teacher background:

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