March 4th-March 8th

monday-1.jpg March 4th  Evolutionary History 1.2
1: Warm-Up (5 min.)

Students make initial observations about the upper body of the Mystery Fossil.

(Teacher Only) Video: Placing the Mystery Fossil in the Museum (5 min.)

Students are introduced to the topic of the unit and to the Natural History Museum by watching a video about the problem that they will work to solve.

2: Discussing the Student Paleontologist Role (5 min.)

Students are introduced to their role as student paleontologists working to place a new fossil in the museum. They also begin to learn what a paleontologist does and find out more about the Mystery Fossil.

3: Finding Similarities Between Species (20 min.)

Students gain experience noticing similarities between species by examining cards showing the body structures of many different species, living and extinct, and considering how to group the species.

4: How Paleontologists Make Observations (10 min.)

Students compare two organisms in order to learn about the importance of making careful observations when examining body structures.

5: Homework

Students read the article “The Cat That Wasn’t a Cat at All” in order to learn more about the importance of careful observations and how to make them.

Tuesday-1.jpg March 5th Evolutionary History 1.3


1: Warm-Up (10 min.)

Students consider shared structures in seemingly dissimilar species.

2: Active Reading: “How You Are Like a Blue Whale” (20 min.)

Students practice the Active Reading approach while learning about how the similarities between whale and human body structures provide evidence that whales and humans share a common ancestor. The teacher uses this opportunity for an On-the-Fly Assessment of students' ability to engage with scientific texts and to summarize main ideas from the text.

3: Discussing Annotations (10 min.)

Students discuss their annotations in order to share their thinking, clarify confusion, and think more deeply about shared structures and how these are evidence of common ancestry. Students' annotations provide an opportunity for an On-the-Fly Assessment of their annotation skills, reading comprehension, and content understanding.

4: Introducing the Evolutionary History Simulation (5 min.)

Students learn how to access the Evolutionary History Simulation, which they will use for homework.

5: Homework

Students explore the Evolutionary History Simulation.

Wednesday-1.jpg March 6th Evolutionary History 1.4


1: Warm-Up (7 min.)

Students practice identifying shared body structures in two fictional species.

2: Second Read: “How You Are Like a Blue Whale” (18 min.)

Students reread a section of the text that includes part of an evolutionary tree diagram showing the relationship between whales, humans, and a common ancestor population in order to refamiliarize themselves with these relationships and with this important visual representation.

3: Tracing Structures in an Evolutionary Tree (20 min.)

Students use the Evolutionary History Sim to observe how scientists use shared structures to map out the relationships between species. This offers an opportunity for an On-the-Fly Assessment to gauge students' understanding of the idea that structural similarities are inherited from a common ancestor.

4: Homework

Students return to the two species they compared in the Warm-Up and apply what they learned during the lesson to infer what the species' common ancestor might have looked like.

thursday-1.jpg March 7th Evolutionary History 1.5  
1: Warm-Up (5 min.)

Students learn that the Mystery Fossil gave live birth and consider what this might mean about other species to which it might be related.

2: What Can We Learn from the Baby Mystery Fossil? (10 min.)

Having learned that the Mystery Fossil is not an egg-laying creature, students discover the value of this uniquely shared characteristic in inferring relatedness, as they reconsider the claim that the Mystery Fossil is most closely related to crocodiles.

3: Comparing the Mystery Fossil to Whales and Wolves (15 min.)

Students have been discussing the fact that when species share similar structures, they may also share a common ancestor; now they apply this idea to structures found in the Mystery Fossil, the whale skeleton, and the wolf skeleton: All of these have structures in common, so they may all share a common ancestor.

4: Predicting Body Structures of a Common Ancestor (15 min.)

Students demonstrate understanding of how body structures are inherited from common ancestors by creating a visual model. This activity provides an On-the-Fly Assessment of students' understanding of shared body structures between ancestor and descendant species.

5: Self-Assessment (Optional)

Students check their understanding of important content in the unit and have a chance to reflect on additional questions they may have about the Mystery Fossil and evolution.

friday-1.jpg March 8th Evolutionary History 2.1
1: Warm-Up (10 min.)

Students examine a diagram showing a front limb of a cat and a human (from Lesson 1.3). Students identify differences in these limbs in order to start thinking about structural differences, as they simultaneously gain more practice in making careful observations.

2: Observing Organisms to Consider Differences (25 min.)

Students analyze differences in the front limbs of three different organisms in order to begin thinking about how the environment could be related to differences in body structures.

3: Discussing Differences (10 min.)

Students make connections between the differences they found in the three species' body structures and what they know about natural selection and how organisms adapt to their environment.

4: Homework

Students practice making careful observations of two species in the Sim and relate the species' different environments to their different body structures.