Reflection: Modeling Mapping the Tree of Life: Phylogenetic Reconstruction (Part 3/3) - Section 5: Teacher mini-lecture: Refining Student Understanding


Students like the general public struggle with understanding the process of science especially when dealing with common ancestry. Currently in taxonomy, there are several competing theories that explain the rise of mammals. It is important that students explore both. Today's assignment is wonderful because it has student look at monophyletic origin, paraphyletic origin, and polyphyletic origin without boring them to death. In the years that I have taught these lessons, I have noticed that students develop all three types of cladograms. See the teacher reflection video for more information.  

For those wanting to know more about this topic, check out the following resources:  

Baum, David. 2008. "Reading a Phylogenetic Tree: The Meaning of Monophyletic Groups." Nature Education. 1(1):190. 

Reed, Charles A. 1960. "Polyphyletic or Monophyletic Ancestry of Mammals, or: What is a Class?" Evolution. 14(3):314-322.  Society for the Study of Evolution  (Note: This begins to explain the development of the polyphyletic theory.  It is a nice read for gifted and creative students as it was written before genetic analysis was used in taxonomy. It is also one of the first phylogenetic literature reviews so it gives students good background into modern taxonomy.)

Laurin, Michel. 2011. Terrestrial Vertebrates. Stegocephalians: Tetrapods and other digit-bearing vertebrates. Version 21 April 2011. in The Tree of Life Web Project, (Note: The Tree of Life Project is updated frequently so it can be used to determine the most recent phylogenetic relationships of all organisms.)




  Modeling: Helping Students Develop Effective Models
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Mapping the Tree of Life: Phylogenetic Reconstruction (Part 3/3)

Unit 1: Phylogeny and Taxonomy
Lesson 3 of 5

Objective: Students will explain how scientists develop phylogenetic trees.

Big Idea: Evaluate your cladogram by comparing it with cladograms of monophyletic, paraphyletic, and polyphyletic origin, then decide which is the best.

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