ALEX Lesson Plan

The Tasty T-Rex: How can cladograms provide evidence about the anatomical similarities and differences among modern and ancient organisms?

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Hannah Bradley
System: Dothan City
School: Carver Magnet School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35248

Title:

The Tasty T-Rex: How can cladograms provide evidence about the anatomical similarities and differences among modern and ancient organisms?

Overview/Annotation:

The lesson will begin by students accessing their prior knowledge of the anatomical similarities and differences among modern and fossil organisms by creating a Venn diagram with a partner, which will compare and contrast two organisms. Next, students will complete the online modules found at "What did T. rex Taste Like?" from the University of California Museum of Paleontology, which will explain how a cladogram diagram can be used to show lines of lineage and evolutionary relationships. Students will use a cladogram to infer how a T. rex is related to modern organisms. Lastly, students will construct a written explanation to describe the anatomical similarities and differences between the T. rex and modern organisms based on evidence from the cladograms in a claim-evidence-reasoning format.

This lesson results from a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and ASTA.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
LIT2010 (6-8) Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
1. Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
a. Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
b. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.
c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
d. Establish and maintain a formal style.
e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
SC2015 (7) Life Science
16. Construct an explanation based on evidence (e.g., cladogram, phylogenetic tree) for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms, including living fossils (e.g., alligator, horseshoe crab, nautilus, coelacanth).

Local/National Standards:

 

Primary Learning Objective(s):

  • Students will identify and describe the anatomical similarities and differences among modern and fossil organisms.
  • Students will analyze cladograms to determine the anatomical similarities and differences among modern and fossil organisms.
  • Students will construct an explanation based on evidence for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern and fossil organisms.
  • Students will write an argument focused on the lesson's content by introducing a claim, providing evidence to support the claim, and using scientific reasoning to explain how the provided evidence supports the stated claim.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 
 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

91 to 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Student Materials (per student)

Notebook paper

Pencil or pen

"What did the T. rex Taste Like? Module Questions

"Features Table" from the University of California Museum of Paleontology

"Cladogram and Data Table Special Assignment"  from the University of California Museum of Paleontology

"Claim Evidence Reasoning" Template from Digging Deep Into Science Literacy (page one)

Website for Online Modules: "What did the T. rex Taste Like?" from the University of California Museum of Paleontology

Website Links for Acceleration Activities

"The Tree of Life Cladogram" from the American Museum of Natural History

"Comparative Embryology" from ck12.org

Website Links for Intervention Activities

"Terms List" for online module

"Phylogenetic Trees" from Khan Academy on youtube.com-10:56

Teacher Materials

"Compare and Contrast Organisms" List (to be cut into 15 slips of paper prior to teaching the lesson)

"What did the T. rex Taste Like? Module Questions Teacher Answer Key

"Claim Evidence Reasoning" Rubric from Digging Deep Into Science Literacy (page two)

Technology Resources Needed:

Student Technology Resources

Internet-capable technology devices (iPads, Chromebooks, laptops, etc.)

Background/Preparation:

Student Background Information: Prior to teaching this lesson, the teacher should ensure that students possess prior knowledge about the role of the fossil record in providing evidence about past life on Earth. If students need to review this concept before proceeding to this lesson, the students can complete a WebQuest on the following website: "Stories from the Fossil Record" from the University of California Museum of Paleontology.

The students will need to know how to complete a Venn diagram for the before strategy of this lesson. During this lesson, students will be required to navigate to a website using a technological device.

Teacher Background Information: Cladistics is the most common method of classification, which organizes living things by their common ancestry and evolutionary relationships. A cladogram diagram makes use of the observable features of organisms, which can be discovered by examining modern organisms or the fossil record. This lesson will focus on using structural features to create a simplified cladogram, however, detailed cladograms make use of biochemical, genetic, and behavioral features as well. Cladistics can show the patterns of change in organisms over time and serve as a tool to predict the relationships between organisms. 

Prior to teaching the lesson, the teacher should print the "Compare and Contrast Organisms" List and cut apart the rows into 15 slips of paper.

This lesson was adapted from "What Did T-rex Taste Like?" from Better Lesson (a free account must be created to view the lessons). This lesson will make use of the modules created by the University of California Museum of Paleontology: "What did T. rex Taste Like?" There are additional resources and a teacher's guide related to the modules available on this website. 

  Procedures/Activities: 

Before Strategy/Engage: 20 minutes

1. The teacher should divide students into partners. The teacher should give each partner group one slip of paper from the "Compare and Contrast Organisms" list. The teacher can pass out the slips or allow students to draw slips of paper randomly.

2. Each student in a partner group should draw a Venn diagram on his or her notebook paper. Using the Venn diagram, the students should compare and contrast the two organisms listed on their slip of paper. For example, the students who received the slip of paper with "Shark and Tuna" would list the similarities and differences between these two organisms.

Note: Based on the students' prior knowledge of these organisms, the teacher may wish to project pictures of the organisms on the board or allow students to look up pictures and information using internet-capable devices.

3. After students have had ample time to collaborate with their partners, the teacher should ask the students to discuss the following question: Do you think the two organisms are closely related? Why or why not? The teacher may allow partner groups to share their response with their classmates. 

During Strategy/Explore & Explain: 45 minutes

1. For the next portion of the lesson, students will need access to an internet-capable technology device. Depending on the number of available devices, students can complete the following activity independently or in partners. Students will need to navigate to the following website:  "What did T. rex Taste Like?" from the University of California Museum of Paleontology. Each student will need a copy of "What did the T. rex Taste Like? Module Questions"

2. The students should navigate through the first three folders of the module and answer the questions on the "What did the T. rex Taste Like? Module Questions". Students should also complete the interactive activities while navigating through the modules.

After Strategy/Explain & Elaborate: 45 minutes

1. Each student will need a copy of "Features Table" from the University of California Museum of Paleontology. The students should complete this table as they navigate through folder 4 of the "What did the T. rex Taste Like?" modules.

Note: The online modules allow students to self-check the correct completion of their features table.

2. For the fifth, and last folder, of the module, each student will need a copy of "Cladogram and Data Table Special Assignment"  from the University of California Museum of Paleontology. The students should answer the "Special Assignment" questions on their sheet of notebook paper, using their completed "Features Table" and the "Cladogram and Data Table Special Assignment"

3. After students have had ample time to complete all five modules of "What did T. rex Taste Like?", they will demonstrate their knowledge through a written explanation in a claim-evidence-reasoning format. The teacher will give each student a copy of "Claim Evidence Reasoning" Template from Digging Deep Into Science Literacy (page one). The students should write the following question the first line of the template: "How can we tell what the T. rex tasted like?" The students will write a claim to respond to the question, provide evidence to support the claim, and use scientific reasoning to explain how the provided evidence supports the stated claim. Students should claim that the T-rex probably tasted like chicken because it was related to modern birds. Students should provide evidence from the information learned in the modules and their completed feature table to support their claim. Students should use scientific reasoning to explain how the evidence they provided supports their claim.


  Assessment  

Assessment Strategies

Formative Assessment: The teacher will informally assess students' prior knowledge of the anatomical similarities and differences among modern and fossil organisms by reviewing each student's Venn diagram in the before strategy. The teacher should review each student's completed module questions to ensure the students grasped the pertinent information. The teacher should circulate among students as they complete the online modules to ensure students are on task and are correctly completing the interactive activities found on the modules. 

Summative Assessment: The teacher will formally assess students by reviewing each student's answers on the "Special Assignment" portion of the online modules. The teacher should determine each student's achievement of the lesson's objectives by assessing the student's claim-evidence-reasoning writing using the rubric ("Claim Evidence Reasoning" Rubric from Digging Deep Into Science Literacy [page two]).

Acceleration:

Students can further expand upon their understanding of the concepts taught during this lesson by exploring "The Tree of Life Cladogram" from the American Museum of Natural History. Students can develop the skills introduced in this lesson by completing the Living Species Interactive "Comparative Embryology" from ck12.org.

Intervention:

Students who need extra preparation before the lesson can be given a copy of the "Terms List" in order to be introduced to the key vocabulary words prior to completing the online modules. Students who need extra assistance understanding cladogram diagrams introduced during the online modules can view the following video clip: "Phylogenetic Trees" from Khan Academy on youtube.com.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.