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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

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Teaching materials database

Found 58 resources for the concept: Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence

imageStories from the Fossil Record
This web-based module provides students with a basic understanding of how fossils can be used to interpret the past.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

imageAlike but Not the Same
Students conduct a classwide inventory of human traits, construct histograms of the data they collect, and play a brief game that introduces students to major concepts related to human genetic variation and the notion of each individual's uniqueness.

Audience: 9-12

Source: National Institutes of Health

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageDarwin's Great Voyage of Discovery
Students learn about Darwin's voyage on the Beagle by reading excerpts from his letters and journals and mapping his route.

Audience: 9-12

Source: WGBH

Resource type: Article

imageDiscovering the great tree of life
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

Audience: 9-12

Source: Peabody Museum of Natural History

Resource type: Video

imageEvolutionary biology: Technology for the 21st century
The evolutionary biologist Jim Bull gives his perspective on how evolution matters to society today: from producing polio vaccines to solving tabloid-style crimes.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ActionBioscience.org

Resource type: Article

imageEvolutionary trees and patterns in the history of life
Scientists use many different lines of evidence to reconstruct the evolutionary trees that show how species are related.
This article is located within Evolution 101.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Tutorial

imageFrom soup to cells - The origin of life
Delve into our current understandings of the origins of life and how scientists are able to investigate the details of such ancient events.
This article is located within Evolution 101.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Tutorial

imageInterview: Anthony Barnosky on climate change and mammal evolution
UC Berkeley Professor Anthony Barnosky gives the inside scoop on how climate change has affected past speciation of mammals and how it may affect biodiversity in the future.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ActionBioscience.org

Resource type: Interview with Scientist

imageInterview: Geerat Vermeij on the Fossil record
This interview with MacArthur Fellow and paleobiologist, Geerat Vermeij, covers much ground, including adaptations in the mollusks he studies, evolutionary arms races, punctuated equilibrium, extinctions, macroevolution, and the value of diversity.

Audience: 9-12

Source: California Academy of Sciences

Resource type: Interview with Scientist

imageLines of evidence: The science of evolution
The theory of evolution is broadly accepted by scientists — and for good reason! Learn about the diverse and numerous lines of evidence that support the theory of evolution.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Tutorial

imageNature of science
Understanding how science works allows one to easily distinguish science from non-science. Thus, to understand biological evolution, or any other science, it is essential to begin with the nature of science.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Tutorial

imageWebcast: The science of evolution
Evolutionary biologist Sean Carroll introduces the field of Evo-Devo, using examples from fruit flies, butterflies, and icefish to explain how this research is transforming our understanding of evolution.
This video is available from the New York Times website.

Audience: 9-12

Source: New York Times

Resource type: Video

imageWhat did T. Rex Taste Like?
In this web-based module students are introduced to cladistics, which organizes living things by common ancestry and evolutionary relationships.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

imageThe Monterey Pine through geologic time
Understanding the evolutionary history of the Monterey Pine may help us conserve this species.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Perry, Frank

Resource type: Article

imageGreat Fossil Find
Students are taken on an imaginary fossil hunt and hypothesize as to the identity of the creature they discover. Students revise their hypotheses as new evidence is "found."

Audience: 9-12

Source: ENSI

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageAnolis Lizards
Students "take a trip" to the Greater Antilles to figure out how the Anolis lizards on the islands might have evolved.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Collins, Jennifer

Resource type: Lab activity

imageVisualizing life on Earth: Data interpretation in evolution
This web-based module leads students through an exploration of the patterns in the diversity of life across planet Earth. Students are scaffolded as they practice data interpretation and scientific reasoning skills.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

imageDetermining Age of Rocks and Fossils
In this series of lessons students learn the basic principles used to determine the age of rocks and fossils by using half-life in radioactive decay and stratigraphy.

Audience: 9-12

Source: McKinney, Frank

Resource type: Lab activity

imageEvolution and Antibiotic Resistance
Students learn why evolution is at the heart of a world health threat by investigating the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance in such menacing diseases as tuberculosis.

Audience: 9-12

Source: WGBH

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageEvo in the news: Oxygen as an evolutionary constraint
This news brief from November 2009 focuses on how changes in atmospheric chemistry may have factored into the evolution of life on Earth—specifically, life’s quadrillion-fold growth spurt from microscopic bacteria to organisms the size of the blue whale.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Conserving the kakapo
This news brief, from April 2006, chronicles how researchers are using evolutionary theory to guide their strategies for conserving a critically endangered parrot - with some impressive results!

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: What has the head of a crocodile and the gills of a fish?
This news brief, from May 2006, reviews what is likely to be the most important fossil find of the year: Tiktaalik helps us understand how our own ancestors crawled out of the water and began to walk on dry land.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Quick bites and quirky adaptations
Trap-jaw ants made headlines with the record-breaking speed of their jaws and a quirky behavior: flinging themselves into the air using the power of their mandibles. This news brief from October 2006 reveals the evolutionary story behind the headlines.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Musseling in on evolution
This news brief, from September 2006, reviews a recent case of evolution in action. In just 15 years, mussels have evolved in response to an invasive crab species. Find out how biologists uncovered this example of evolution on double time.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: More than morphology
This news brief, from August 2006, describes recent research on T. rex, with a special focus on how paleontologists move beyond the shape of the animal's bones to learn about aspects of its life that don't fossilize very well: its physiology, sensory abilities, and population dynamics.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Warming to evolution
Global warming increasingly affects many aspects of our environment, from the sea level to tropical storm strength. But that's far from the full story. This news brief from July 2006 describes how global warming has already begun to affect the evolution of several species on Earth.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: The other green (r)evolution
Though corn is "all-natural" in some ways, in others it is entirely manmade. This news brief from February 2007 explains the evolutionary tools that ancient humans used to engineer modern corn and the tools that scientists are using today to reconstruct corn's evolutionary history.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Evolutionary evidence takes the stand
This news brief, from January of 2007, describes the role of phylogenetic evidence in a Libyan court case. Six medical workers have been convicted of injecting children with HIV-tainted blood - but the evolutionary history of the virus paints a different picture.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Quick evolution leads to quiet crickets
The tropical island of Kauai has always been a quiet place, but now it may be getting even more quiet. This news brief, from December 2006, reveals how Kauai's cricket population has evolved into a "chirpless" variety in just a few years.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Where species come from
Lush tropical ecosystems house many times more species than temperate or Arctic regions. This news brief from November 2006 discusses the evolutionary explanation for this diversity trend and reveals why threats to tropical ecosystems may threaten diversity on a global scale.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Got lactase?
The ability to digest milk is a recent evolutionary innovation that has spread through some human populations. This news brief from April 2007 describes how evolution has allowed different human populations to take advantage of the nutritional possibilities of dairying and links evolution with the prevalence of lactose tolerance among people of different ethnicities.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: When it comes to evolution, headlines often get it wrong
Newly discovered fossils are prompting some scientists to consider a minor revision of the relationships shown on the human family tree. This news brief from September 2007 clarifies the occasionally misleading news coverage of the story.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Cheating cheetahs prosper
Biologists have discovered that female cheetahs consistently seek out multiple mates. This news brief, from July 2007, explains how the evolutionary implications of this behavior may help conservation efforts targeting these endangered animals.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: The new shrew that's not
This news brief from March of 2008 describes scientists' discovery of a new mammal species, a giant elephant shrew. Though elephant shrews resemble regular shrews, recent genetic evidence suggests that elephant shrews actually sprang from a much older (and perhaps more charismatic) branch of the tree of life - the one belonging to elephants and their relatives.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Happy 200th, Darwin!
This news brief, from February 2009, celebrates Darwin's bicentennial by examining what we've learned about the evolution of the Galapagos finches since Darwin's time.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Coping with climate change
This news brief from May 2009 explores the difference between phenotypic plasticity and evolutionary change in relation to the media's coverage of climate change.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the News: "Error. Greed does not compute."
This news brief from May 2011 describes how researchers are using tiny robots to study the evolution of altruistic behaviors.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Evolving altitude aptitude
This news brief from October 2010 examines new research that makes it clear that Tibetan highlanders have not just acclimated to their mountain home; evolutionary adaptations have equipped them with unique physiological mechanisms for dealing with low oxygen levels.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Making sense of ancient hominin DNA
In March 2010 German researchers announced that they had managed to extract DNA from the 40,000 year old fossil bone from a child discovered in a Siberian cave and that it didn't match up to the known genetic sequences of either humans or Neanderthals! This news brief examines the evidence in more detail and considers what that evidence might — or might not — mean about such claims.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageIsland biogeography and evolution: Solving a phylogenetic puzzle using molecular genetics
Students focus on the evolution of three species of lizards using real data sets – geographical and geological data, then morphology, and finally molecular data – to determine possible phylogenetic explanations.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Filson, R.P.

Resource type: Lab activity

imageAloha, spider style! The work of Rosemary Gillespie
This research profile follows Dr. Rosemary Gillespie to Hawaii as she evaluates hypotheses about the evolution of the colorful happy-face spider.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageAncient fossils and modern climate change: The work of Jennifer McElwain
Wondering how global warming will affect our planet? Scientist Jennifer McElwain studies the fossil record in order to learn more about how global warming has affected life on Earth in the past and how it might affect life on Earth in the future.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageBattling bacterial evolution: The work of Carl Bergstrom
This research profile examines how the scientist Carl Bergstrom uses computer modeling to understand and control the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria in hospitals.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageAngling for evolutionary answers: The work of David O. Conover
Human activity has certainly affected our physical environment - but it is also changing the course of evolution. This research profile follows scientist David O. Conover as he investigates the impact of our fishing practices on fish evolution and discovers what happened to the big ones that got away.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageA closer look at a classic ring species: The work of Tom Devitt
The Ensatina salamander has been extensively investigated because it is a ring species — a species that demonstrates how geography and the gradual accumulation of genetic differences factor into the process of speciation. Biologist Tom Devitt continues the more than 50 years of Ensatina research by applying new genetic techniques and asking new questions about this classic evolutionary example.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageFrom the origin of life to the future of biotech: The work of Andy Ellington
This research profile examines how scientist Andy Ellington has co-opted the power of artificial selection to construct new, useful molecules in his lab. The results of his work could help protect us from terrorist attacks and fight HIV and cancer.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageHow to survive a mass extinction: The work of David Jablonski
Through detailed analysis of patterns in the fossil record, scientist David Jablonski reconstructs the rules that helped dictate who lived and died in past mass extinctions. This research profile describes his surprising discoveries and their disturbing implications for the biodiversity crisis today.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageThe genes that lie beneath: The work of Leslea Hlusko
Evolutionary biologist Leslea Hlusko's research takes her from the deserts of Ethiopia, where she hunts for hominid and primate fossils, to a baboon colony in San Antonio where she takes thousands of measurements of the primates' imposing canines. This research profile describes how the two projects are linked by a hunt for genetic variation, a key component of natural selection.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageUsing trees to understand plants: The work of Chelsea Specht
This research profile follows scientist Chelsea Specht as she pieces together the evolutionary history of tropical plants and their pollinators--and in the process, tries to figure out how to conserve endangered species.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageBiological warfare and the coevolutionary arms race
The rough-skinned newt looks harmless enough but is, in fact, packed full of one of the most potent neurotoxins known to man. Find out how an evolutionary arms race has pushed these mild-mannered critters to the extremes of toxicity and how evolutionary biologists have unraveled their fascinating story.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

imageFire ants invade and evolve
Understanding the evolution of fire ants may help scientists control the spread of these pests, which have already taken over much of the U.S.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

imageHow boogieing birds evolved: The work of Kim Bostwick
This research profile follows ornithologist Kim Bostwick through the jungles of Ecuador and the halls of museums as she investigates the evolution of an exotic bird's complex mating dance.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageInvestigating a Deep Sea Mystery
In this lab activity, students examine authentic morphological and phylogenetic data of three fish families and then pose and test alternative hypotheses about the fishes' classification.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ETOL

Resource type: Lab activity

imageCSI: Olduvai Gorge. The work of Jackson Njau
This research profile follows paleoanthropologist Jackson Njau as he investigates ancient predators, like crocodiles and large cats, in an effort to understand how these organisms shaped the evolution of our human ancestors.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

image¡Feliz cumpleaños número 200, Darwin!
Este 12 de febrero se cumplirían 200 años del nacimiento de Charles Darwin, y todo el mundo esta invitado a la fiesta. Numerosos grupos alrededor del mundo — desde niños en las escuelas primarias, hasta museos e iglesias — celebraran la ciencia de la evolución con conferencias públicas, clases, obras teatrales, exhibiciones artísticas y muchísimas galletas con forma de tortugas. 'Evolución en las noticias' de este mes contribuye a la celebración mediante la revisión de un tema cercano y querido por Darwin: los pinzones de Galápagos...

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageSound trees
Students learn how spectrograms represent sound variation and then examine the sounds of owls for traits that might be useful in determining evolutionary relationships. They compare these traits to morphological ones and test their hypotheses.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Resource type: Lab activity

imageTeaching the Process of Molecular Phylogeny and Systematics: A Multi-Part Inquiry-Based Exercise
Students explore molecular data from Homo sapiens and four related primates and develop hypotheses regarding the ancestry of these five species by analyzing DNA sequences, protein sequences, and chromosomal maps.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Lents, Nathan, et al

Resource type: Lab activity

imageThe Making of the Fittest: The Birth and Death of Genes
This 13-minute film describes how scientists have pieced together the evolutionary history of the Antarctic icefish by studying its genome — an excellent case study for genetic evolution as both the gain and loss of genes have led to key adaptations.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Resource type: Video

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