Reflection: Real World Applications What Did T-Rex Taste Like? - Section 3: Assessment Activity


Every teacher has been the recipient of the "why do we have to know this anyway?", typically given with the enormous sigh and teenage eye roll.  As a new teacher my reply was something along the line of "because learning new stuff is awesome", but as I became more seasoned I realized this was not a sufficient answer.  Students need to understand the big picture of how school knowledge transitions into the real world.

This is where resources like Facebook and Twitter come in quite handy.  The night before my students were set to finish up this tutorial on cladistics, I came across this article entitled How Dinosaurs Could Help Us Fight Malnutrition (how does Facebook always know exactly what I am teaching?).  This is the perfect connection to the real world that adds meaning for what we are doing in class.  

To introduce this to students I posed this question to the students "How do humans benefit from studying dinosaurs?" and had them work in small groups to develop an answer.  Almost all of their answers began with the words "we can learn..." and when they were done sharing I told them that none of them actually answered my question (quite the attention getter!)  I went on to explain that while learning was great, how does it actually benefit anyone if we don't apply that learning in some way.  At this point, I projected the article and had students guess as to what they thought the article would say based on the title (that was fun, so very wrong, but entertaining).  I then explained the connection between dinosaurs and malnutrition and you could see the a-ha moments happening around the room.  Students, at least for that moment, recognized that you could actually take what you learn in school and use it in new ways to change the world.  It was a good day at the office.

  Real World Connections
  Real World Applications: Real World Connections
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What Did T-Rex Taste Like?

Unit 6: Evidence of Common Ancestry
Lesson 3 of 12

Objective: SWBAT use a cladogram to make hypotheses and explain that all living creatures are related by common ancestry.

Big Idea: Using cladograms , students begin to develop an understanding of how classification can provide information about evolutionary relationships of organisms.

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  135 minutes
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