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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

Teaching materials:
Teaching materials database

Found 52 resources for the concept: Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable

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

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

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

imageHistory of evolutionary thought
In this section, you will see how study in four disciplinary areas — Earth's history, life's history, mechanisms of evolution, and development and genetics — has contributed to our current understanding of evolution.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

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

imageInterview: Nicole King on the origins of multicellularity
Biologist and UC Berkeley Professor Nicole King explains how she investigates a major transition in evolutionary history: the evolution of multicellular life forms from unicellular ones.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ActionBioscience.org

Resource type: Interview with Scientist

imageLearn about the tree of life
This tutorial on phylogenetics explains the basics of tree-thinking and provides many examples from real organisms.
This resource is available from the Peabody Museum of Natural History

Audience: 9-12

Source: Peabody Museum of Natural History

Resource type: Tutorial

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

imageSpecies, speciation and the environment
Niles Eldredge gives a historical overview of scientists' thinking on the process of speciation, along with modern perspectives on this issue.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ActionBioscience.org

Resource type: Article

imageThe Evolution of Flight in Birds
This interactive module examines evidence from the fossil record, behavior, biomechanics and cladistic analysis to interpret the sequence of events that led to flight in the dinosaur lineage.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

imageSolving the Mystery of the Neandertals
An interactive and engaging web activity that compares the number of mutations in the mitochondrial genomes to determine ancestry and relatedness.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Dolan DNA Learning Center

Resource type: Online activity or lab

imageEvo in the news: Ghosts of epidemics past
HIV and malaria both constitute global health threats, respectively affecting more than 30 million and 200 million people worldwide. This news brief from October 2008 describes new research that reveals an unexpected evolutionary link between the two.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

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

imageXenosmilus
Students play the roles of paleontologists on a dig. They “unearth” a few fossils at a time and attempt to reconstruct the animal the fossils represent.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageUnderstanding Geologic Time
A web-based module in which students gain a basic understanding of geologic time, the evidence for events in Earth's history, relative and absolute dating techniques, and the significance of the Geologic Time Scale.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

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

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

imageHominid Cranium Comparison (The "Skulls" Lab)
Students describe, measure and compare cranial casts from contemporary apes, modern humans, and fossil hominids to discover some of the similarities and differences between these forms and to see the pattern leading to modern humans.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ENSI

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: Tracking SARS back to its source
This news brief, from January of 2006, traces the source of the SARS virus. Using phylogenetics, biologists have come up with a plausible path of transmission which may help us prevent future outbreaks of diseases such as HIV, SARS, and West Nile virus.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: A fish of a different color
This news brief, from February 2006, describes how a mutated zebrafish gene may help us understand human evolution and the genes underlying human skin color. Humans and zebrafish both inherited the same pigmentation gene from their common ancestor.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Evolution at the scene of the crime
This news brief, from March 2006, describes how DNA fingerprinting is being used to prosecute and exonerate the accused. DNA fingerprinting relies on the processes of mutation and genome evolution.

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: Hotspots for evolution
Why are there so many different species in the tropics? This news brief, from June 2006, suggests why: warmer weather may be linked to a quicker pace for evolution.

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: 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: 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: Genealogy enthusiasts mine DNA for clues to evolutionary history
This news brief, from November 2007, turns an evolutionary lens on businesses that use DNA for genealogy research and, in the process, illuminates what their genetic tests really track.

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: Evolution in the fast lane?
Have humans, with all of our technological advances, exempted ourselves from further evolution? Perhaps not. This news brief, from February 2008, examines genetic research which suggests that human evolution may haved actually accelerated in our recent history.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Evolution down under
This news brief, from September of 2008, describes an unusual contagious cancer currently decimating Tasmanian devil populations. Learn about the fascinating interplay between the evolution of the devils and the evolution of the disease.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: HIV's not-so-ancient history
First described in 1981, HIV is a distinctly modern disease. But for how long before its discovery did HIV lurk unnoticed in human populations? This news brief from November 2008 describes new research offering insight into when (and how) HIV got its start.

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

imageA Step in Speciation
Students compare different subspecies of a California salamander on a grid map of California to focus on patterns of their distribution, their likely evolutionary relationships, and probable sequence of formation from the ancestral salamander.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ENSI

Resource type: Lab activity

imageThe Checks Lab
Students construct plausible scenarios using bank checks to learn how human values and biases influence observation and interpretation.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ENSI

Resource type: Classroom 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

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

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

imageIt takes teamwork: How endosymbiosis changed life on Earth
You might be surprised to learn that descendents of an ancient bacterium are living in every cell of your body! Find out how endosymbiosis factored into the evolution of your own cells and learn about a modern example of this process.

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

imageUsing trees to uproot HIV: The work of Satish Pillai
This research profile follows scientist Satish Pillai as he studies the evolution of HIV within infected individuals. His research uses the tools of phylogenetics to investigate vaccine development and the possibility of curing the disease.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

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

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

imageEvo in the news: No more mystery meat
This news brief from April 2013 describes new research on the origin of American cattle breeds. The story told by the cows' genes crisscrosses the trajectory of human evolutionary history — from wild aurochs that lived alongside Neanderthals, to Christopher Columbus and, ultimately, the American West …

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

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