Cladistics is one of the newest trends in the modern classification of organisms. It shows the relationship between different organisms based on the presence or absence of characteristics called derived characters. In this activity, students will look at pictures of 7 different animals to determine if they possess certain derived characters. This data will then be used to build a cladogram.
Your download will include handouts that are ready to be copied and passed out to your students. The handouts will contain Introduction, Purpose, Materials, Procedure, Data Table, and Follow-Up Questions.
This product is also sold in a large, bundled unit containing 13 products: Classification Complete Unit Plan Bundle
This product comes with a student-friendly explanation of cladistics and definitions of key terms related to cladistics. Pictures of 7 different organisms are also included. The 4 page student worksheet leads them through the process of making observations, completing a data table, and using this data to complete the cladogram. There are 19 follow up questions, and complete answer key for the teacher.
Not only does this activity teach cladistics, but it reinforces the skills of observation, problem solving, analysis, and critical thinking.
This activity was written for my high school Biology I class, but is also appropriate for middle school students. You will receive both a pdf file and a Word document so that you can make changes to it to suit your needs.
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