Reflection: Grappling with Complexity Fossil Record Experience - Section 3: Analyzing Evidence


Although the experience could be described as simple, the learning is much more complex. The students simulate the work of paleontologists by uncovering fossils and determining their placement in a known record. Once their model is created, they must make inferences about the environment where the organisms lived and also recognize the different patterns of organisms as they place a mystery fossil in their record. This exercise not only has students creating a model to explore their learning, but in fact allows them to compile their learnings from previous learnings -- gently leading them to into a more thorough understanding of the role of fossil records in the study evolution. This is the primary goal of the lesson.

What I love about the lesson is that all students are able to participate and make sense of the evidence without much direction. They need not be experts to realize that the organism changed over time, and that its form and function had to have changed in response to the environment. As the lesson progresses, you can see them making inferences intuitively and making connections between what they already know and what they are experiencing. 

  Simulating Experiences
  Grappling with Complexity: Simulating Experiences
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Fossil Record Experience

Unit 8: Evolution
Lesson 9 of 17

Objective: Students will be able to create a model evolutionary tree using fossil records and morphology.

Big Idea: Careful observation of the fossil record provides evidence for evolution.

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71 teachers like this lesson
Science, fossil record (Evolution), Evolution, Genetics, natural selection (Evolution), fossils, genetic drift, cladistics, mutations, embryology
  50 minutes
fossil lab
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