Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.
In this lesson, students learn how modern-day scientists can take advantage of a tool not available in Darwin's time: molecular evidence. The discovery of the structure of DNA, and a greater understanding of genetics, have supported rather than refuted Darwin's ideas. Intense investigation by molecular biologists has uncovered genetic links between very diverse animal species, providing new evidence of common ancestry.
1. Have your class watch the Genetic Tool Kit video, read the backgrounder, and take notes.
2. Then ask students to read the Animal Body Plans: Homeobox Genes handout and complete the activity.
3. Discuss the following questions:
5. Next, introduce your students to cytochrome C -- an enzyme found in virtually all organisms and needed for the release of energy from food. The Amino Acid Sequences in Cytochrome C chart on the Molecular Connections handout compares the amino acid sequences in this protein for several different animals. Have students infer how closely related the animals are based on the number of differences in their amino acid sequences. Then have students compare that data with a cladogram that has been constructed for those same animals based on their anatomical features. The cladogram provides independent confirmation of the animals' evolutionary relationships.
6. Ask groups to complete the handout. Point out that the bottom half of the Amino Acid Sequences in the Cytochrome C chart completes the data from the top half, so they need to look at both parts to answer the questions.
7. Discuss the answers in class.
8. Have students visit the All in the Family Web activity to learn how multiple lines of evidence are used to figure out evolutionary relationships. Out of a group of three animals, students choose the two they think are most closely related. They can base their choice on appearance, anatomical similarities, developmental morphology, or molecular evidence. As they will discover, looks can sometimes be deceiving!
9. Ask students to use their biology textbooks to find two species to compare. Instruct them to write down how they think the animals are related and how they might find evidence to prove this relationship.
10. As a wrap-up to the the lessons on fossil and molecular evidence for evolution assign your students Evidence for Evolution. Divide the class into research teams of anatomists, molecular biologists, and paleontologists to search for structural, genetic, and fossil evidence for evolution. Direct the teams to selected online articles and Web sites, and tell them to report their findings to the class.
11. For extra credit, have students complete the Molecular Clocks: Proteins That Evolve at Different Rates worksheet. Point out that some proteins can tolerate a large amount of change and still carry out their function. Such proteins accumulate many mutations, and they can be used to help work out the evolutionary relationships between even closely related species. (This is a good supplement to the Molecular Connections activity.)
12. Alternatively, have students watch The Common Genetic Code video, which further illustrates the genetic similarity between all living things. The video highlights the research of scientist Paul Nurse, who demonstrated that a human gene could function in a lowly yeast.