Reflection: Lesson Planning Using Movies VS Watching Movies: The Origins of Birds - Section 2: Activity


This lesson provides a numerous amount of roads for you to take to deepen the learning experience for your class and I encourage you to take as many as you can to pull the most from this lesson and the wonderful HHMI resource.  My focus is primarily on the immense amount of information that can be determined based on fossils and on the observation and inference skills.  However, this lesson provides a good moment to pre-assess what your students know about adaptation and natural selection which are lessons in the next unit.  I do not go into detail in these areas but I do take note of any major misconceptions at this time.  Students typically understand the idea that organisms adapt to their environment but have little to no understanding of how this occurs or how random this process really is - good things to note prior to teaching this concept.  While I do take note of these things now, I try to keep our discussion focused on the concept of common ancestry during the lessons of this unit.

One way to enhance this lesson is to pull out some manipulatives for the students.  I recently came across a new vendor at the NSTA conference in Chicago, Skulls Unlimited.  I made two great finds: a replication of the Deinonychus claw ($9) mentioned in the Origin of Birds video and a large bat encased in acrylic ($65) (did you know their wings are transparent?!). I use the Deinonychus claw to demonstrate why scientists made the inference that it was used for slashing by comparing it with a claw from an Allosaurus (I spent a lot of money at this booth!).  When you physically compare the two claws, it becomes obvious that the shape of the curve in the Deinonychus claw is not conducive to walking - much more notable in the replicas than in images.  I use the bat when we discuss the Pterasaur fossil as it helps students understand how we can use living creatures to help us understand and interpret fossils.  If you have room in your science budget, these small purchases really strengthen the lesson in a way that is quite memorable to the students.

  Getting the Most From the Lesson
  Lesson Planning: Getting the Most From the Lesson
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Using Movies VS Watching Movies: The Origins of Birds

Unit 6: Evidence of Common Ancestry
Lesson 6 of 12

Objective: SWBAT identify observations and inferences based on fossil evidence.

Big Idea: Students gain understanding of the fossil evidence that has led scientists to determine that birds descended from dinosaurs while improving their ability use observations to make inferences.

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10 teachers like this lesson
Science, ecosystem, ancestry, Evolution, Common Ancestors, common ancestry, ancestors, fossils
  45 minutes
feathers shed light on evolution of flight
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