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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

Teaching tips:
Use this resource to relate evolutionary concepts to the topic of classification (or get more suggestions for incorporating evolution throughout your biology syllabus).

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.

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

  • The patterns of life’s diversity through time provide evidence of evolution.

  • An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.

  • There are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms.

  • Speciation is the splitting of one ancestral lineage into two or more descendent lineages.

  • 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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