Evidence for Evolution: #1 of 3

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Student teams will be able to communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.

Big Idea

The Theory of Natural Selection presents claims supported by various lines of evidence.

Learner Goals

Note: I recommend that you first check out this resource in order to get the most out of this lesson!

In high school I took several drafting classes and, for a while, I had hoped to become an architect. With respect to planning instruction and teaching, I feel that I can still live out the detailed approach to building something intricate and complex even though the product is a lesson rather than a certain "built environment".

The lesson-planning document that I uploaded to this section is a comprehensive overview of how I approach lesson planning. This template includes the "Big Three" aspects of the NGSS standards: Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science Practices. Of course, there are many other worthy learning goals, skills, instructional strategies, and assessments that can be integrated into a class session. I don't feel compelled to check every box but, rather, use it as a guide to consider various options and tailor the lesson in light of these.

With regard to this particular lesson...

1. Students will be able to communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence. (HS-LS4-1)

2. Students will understand that genetic information provides evidence of evolution. Such information is also derivable from the similarities and differences in amino acid sequences and from anatomical and embryological evidence. (HS-LS4-1)

3. Students will be able to cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.1)

I hope you get some value from my work!

Anticipatory Set ("Hook")

10 minutes

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

To start, we need to know what evidence is and how to spot the good stuff!

Turn and Talk Prompt: “Define the term ‘evidence’ and explain what separates high and low quality evidence.”

Sample student responses might include:

1. Evidence is proof of something or data used to support a conclusion

2. High quality evidence is reliable and good instruments or tools were used to gather it

Following this three to five minute segment is a short discussion focusing on the continuum of quality by which evidence is judged. Here I seek to emphasize the difference between "quantitative" versus "qualitative" evidence, with a strong preference in the sciences for the former variety.

Instructional Input/Student Activities

40 minutes
1) Evolution Evidence Jigsaw Project/Overview

-Overview Evidence Jigsaw PowerPoint slide show template.  Let's begin with the end in mind, shall we? Provide the project rubric for students ahead of time in order to give them the fullest and clearest picture of what their performance will need to look like. In sum, students will be required to research and orally present the following:

a. Describe the line of evidence

b. Describe the claim made by the Theory of Natural Selection and the reasoning that links the claim and evidence.

c. Evaluate the pros and cons of the line of evidence

d. Summarize (make sense of) the meaning of the line of evidence on its own.

e. Extension: articulate three questions that the team would like to know more about with regard to the line of evidence.

Please follow this link to learn about the "purist" jigsaw strategy.

2) Check for Understanding: Solicit feedback from students about their understanding of the nature of the project. Students will use an index card to describe a) what the project requires (drawing from the explanation just given) and b) what is not required by the instructor. These will be turned in, reviewed by the instructor, and shared with the class as confirmation of what was correctly understood and clarification of what was not.

3) SMART Goal Tracker: Once students select roles, direct them to break down their task into at least one SMART goal per day of the project using this template: SMART Goal Success Tracker

Disclaimer: I do not require my students to tattoo "To Do" lists to their forearm. A bit extreme but heck, if it works, then go for it!

Photo credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/49/My_to_do_list_is_healed_and_in_use!_(4668030838).jpg

4) Research: Students will review the materials provided and other resources as they begin researching their respective roles.

Closure: What did we learn? Where do we go from here?

5 minutes

SMART Goal Tracker: Direct students to self-evaluate their progress relative to the SMART Goals articulated at the top of class. Remind them to keep these up-to-date each class session. Require them to determine (to the best of their ability) how much progress was made toward the goal (0-100%). I spot check these to instill a sense of urgency and importance.

Please click here for Day #2...

Lesson Extension & Follow-Up Activities

Each member is to complete their necessary research in order to submit to the team Editor for final editing and submission to instructor by the due date. Any work not completed toward completing project needs to be done at home.