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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

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Found 24 resources for the concept: Scientists may explore many different hypotheses to explain their observations.

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

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

imageAn antipodal mystery
The discovery of the platypus had the scientific world in an uproar with its mammal-like and bird-like features. How was one to classify the platypus? This case study uses this issue to model the scientific process, with scientists arguing, debating, collecting more evidence, and revising their opinions as new data become available.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Herreid, Clyde Freeman

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

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: 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: "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: Spreading disease on evolutionary timescales
Most infectious diseases that we are familiar with are passed from human to human; however, on evolutionary timescales, pathogens don't necessarily respect species boundaries. This news brief from November 2010 examines a recently discovered case of disease swapping among species involving a deadly strain of malaria.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Toxic river means rapid evolution for one fish species
This news brief from March 2011 examines the genetic basis for the evolution of resistance to PCBs in the Hudson River tomcod. Though this is great for the tomcod, what might it mean for other organisms in the ecosystem?

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

imageInvestigating Common Descent: Formulating Explanations and Models
Students formulate explanations and models that simulate structural and biochemical data as they investigate the misconception that humans evolved from apes.

Audience: 9-12

Source: National Academy of Sciences

Resource type: Classroom 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

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

imageParsimonious explanations for punctuated patterns
Punctuated equilibrium is sometimes erroneously cited as evidence that evolutionary biology still hasn't figured out how evolution works. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. Punctuated equilibrium builds on (not tears down!) established evolutionary theory. Find out how the process works.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Evolution: Education and Outreach

Resource type: Article

imageEvo in the news: The evidence lines up in early mammal evolution
This news brief, from September 2011, describes the discovery of a new mammal species that highlights just how long mammals have been around. Back in the Jurassic, dinosaurs may have dominated terrestrial ecosystems, but they were not alone. Scurrying around their feet and clinging to the trees above them were the fuzzy ancestors of their successors.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News 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

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

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

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