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Students build a phylogenetic tree from pipe cleaners that allows them to rotate branches, compare topologies, map complete lineages, identify informative phylogenetic features, and examine the effects of superficial structural changes on the tree.
The American Biology Teacher
This is not a complete lesson in itself, but presents a useful manipulative tool to supplement other lessons on phylogenetics and allow students to build their tree-thinking skills.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Present-day life forms are descended from past life forms; all life is related. (LS4.A)
- Evolutionary relationships may be represented by branching trees (i.e. phylogenies or cladograms).