Reflection: Problem-based Approaches The Rise of the Dog: Day #2 of 2 - Section 3: Instructional Input/Student Activities


How do I support my students to compose, communicate, and evaluate a clearly stated, evidence-based, compelling argument?

How did dogs come to be in their present form. From what ancestor did they emerge? How did this occur and how long did it take to complete? Some of these questions have been addressed and the  student featured here provides a tentative answer.

As I have stated before, a claim without evidence is merely an opinion. So now that a body of evidence has been collected, our attention turns to sifting through the data to determine what constitutes the "crème de la crème".

This student has identified the following key evidences that informed his conclusion (claim):

1. Natural Selection takes places (sic) with the animals “Flight Distance”

2. Wolves were drawn towards the villages because of the scraps laying around

3. the animals that could get closest to the Humans got the food, and survived better than the other animals

4. Ancient people took a wolf from the wild and then tamed it


Final reasoning: "Because as dogs got closer to the villages where the humans were, their “Flight Distances” became shorter and shorter. This then allowed the dogs to get even more close to the humans. As time passed, humans began to bond with these dogs, and then the wolves evolved into dogs."
Reframed according to the "Orange Circle Theory" mental model previously described, this student's reasoning might be parsed out as such:
1. Variation: Not all dogs are born with an equal flight distance
2. Adaptation: flight distance is a natural defense mechanism that avoids possible confrontations that could lead to injury or death
3. Selection: Humans that posed no threat to dogs and, at the same time, offered a reward in the form of passive reward (garbage left near camp) and/or active reward (offering food directly) leads to the differential survival of short-flighted dogs since they were less likely to starve as opposed to the dogs with long flight-distance.
4. Reproduction: Survival tends to beget reproduction. Considering that flight-distance is genetically determined (in part it seems) then the surviving offspring will also likely benefit in the same way.

  Problem-based Approaches: Wrapping up our inquiry...
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The Rise of the Dog: Day #2 of 2

Unit 6: 6) Exploring Change ("The Theory of Natural Selection")
Lesson 9 of 15

Objective: The prevailing theory explaining how man's best friend came to be has been recently challenged. Students will determine which of theory best matches the evidence.

Big Idea: The rise of the domestic dog has been been both rapid and well-researched but the theory is still a work in progress.

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