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Evolution and the Environment
NABT 2005 Conference
Science Links and Classroom Resources

The Diversification of Flowering Plants: Key Innovations and Radiations

Science Resources

Classroom Activities

  • Quick and dramatic DNA isolation procedure: (click on "Do try this at home" link)
  • "Nuts and Bolts" activity: Integrating phylogeny into course content and lab activities:
     
    • Example 1: Instead of having the students memorize phylogenies, and basically just accept them as a given, have the students in a lab actually reconstruct a phylogeny for a group of organisms (this could be done with major animal phyla, or with major groups of embryophytes). In the first lab, the students put to use their knowledge of morphological terms and structures, and record observations on organisms available in lab (with some information provided to them, to make the exercise feasible), and in a follow-up lab they delimit characters and states, construct a matrix, and practice forming groups (based on parsimony, grouping by synapomorphy). Then, they compare their phylogenetic hypotheses with accepted phylogenetic trees (based on DNA sequences and additional characters) and discuss where their phylogenies are similar and where they differ.

    • Example 2: It is also useful to organize the information on plant and animal structures/functions (e.g., the circulatory system, respiratory system of animals, internal conduction of water in plants, etc.) by placing it within a phylogenetic context. Thus evolution, and evolutionary pattern, are fully integrated into the information about how animals or plants "work." This approach allows the teacher to integrate structure/function questions with evolutionary pattern and process.

    • Example 3: Role play parts of the cell (not evolutionary biology, but a good way to learn the cell): This can be an outdoor track event where DNA (one person) has a code sheet that needs to be translated. mRNA (another person) converts and carries a message to the ribosome who decodes it. Organelles are stationary. Vacuoles transport products. The point is to decode and produce proteins (built out of legos, bagged (golgi body), with sugar (mitochondria)). A group of cheerleaders (chloroplasts) is responsible for running around the cell and encouraging their team. In the end, they all get mitochondria awards (sugar).

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The Role of Climatic Change in the Evolution of Mammals

Science Resources

Classroom/Teaching Resources

  • Understanding Evolution. This is a primer for teaching evolution at various levels (available through the University of California Museum of Paleontology)
  • Miocene Mammal Mapping Project. An easy to use resource for finding when and where fossil mammals lived in the USA from 5 to 30 million years ago (available through the University of California Museum of Paleontology)
  • The Poleontology Portel a great resource for teaching paleontology for K-16 (available through the University of California Museum of Paleontology)

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Evolution and Diversification in the Tropical Crop, Cassava

Science Resources

Amphibian Population Declines and Some Misconceptions about Natural Selection

Science Resources

  • Blaustein, Andrew R. and Pieter T.J. Johnson. February 2003. Explaining Frog Deformities. An eight-year investigation into the cause of a shocking increase in deformed amphibians has sorted out the roles of three prime suspects. Scientific American.
  • Blaustein, Andrew R. and David Wake. April 1995. The Puzzle of Declining Amphibian Populations. Scientific American.

Classroom Resources

Ecological Change Drives Evolutionary Diversification: A Case Study with Caribbean Lizards

Science Resources

Classroom Resources

  • Anolis Lizards of the Greater Antilles: Using Phylogeny to Test Hypotheses. Author: Jennifer (Johnson) Collins. Activity developed by the University of California Museum of Paleontology. From the Overview: "Students "take a trip" to the Greater Antilles to figure out how the Anolis lizards on the islands might have evolved." http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/education/lessons/anolis.html

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When Humans Create Rapid Evolution by Changing the Environment

Science Resources:

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