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Lesson summary for:
The great clade race

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Overview:
This activity uses a simple puzzle to get students to use cladistic thinking without bogging them down with terminology.

Author/Source:
American Biology Teacher

Grade level:
13-16

Time:
30-50 minutes

Teaching tips:
This is a great introductory activity for a unit on phylogenetic.

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

  • An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.

  • Similarities among existing organisms (including morphological, developmental, and molecular similarities) reflect common ancestry and provide evidence for evolution.

  • Not all similar traits are homologous; some are the result of convergent evolution.

  • Evolutionary trees (i.e., phylogenies or cladograms) portray hypotheses about evolutionary relationships.

  • The principle of parsimony suggests that the phylogenetic hypothesis most likely to be true is the one requiring the fewest evolutionary changes.

Teacher background:

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