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This zip file contains different activities (28 pages of student handouts and 1 PowerPoint with a total of 62 slides) which can be used to compose a unit for AP Biology or advanced Biology students involving the Topics of the Origin of Life and Introduction to Phylogenetics. Some topics addressed in this unit in reference to the origin of life include a discussion of the early Earth history including the role of the reducing atmosphere, mechanisms for life's origin including the heterotroph hypothesis, the Stanley Miller experiment, RNA world hypothesis, evolution of eukaryotes from prokaryotes, endosymbiont hypothesis and the evolution of life on land. An overview of systems of classification and introduction to the construction of cladograms and phylogenetic trees is also addressed. More specific information on the learning goals addressed in this learning package may be viewed near the end of this course description.
While these lessons were originally designed for my AP Biology curriculum, they can be adapted to any advanced level Biology program. The Educational Testing Service also provides two labs which fit well with this unit. Links to obtain these labs are included in the "read me first" text file in this zip file package. This read me first file also contains links to an online textbook which can be used in replacement of traditional classroom textbooks.
This lesson packet contains a listing of the learning goals, common core learning standards, NGSS learning standards and the AP Biology performance indicators addressed in these materials. These are included in the packet and at the end of the description of this lesson.
The components of this lesson package can easily be displayed to students using an LCD projector and may be readily modified into formats facilitating smartboard technology. Most documents are included in both word and pdf format to allow editing for specific teacher needs.
Answer keys are included for all listed student work items. Student files have been provided in both editable word and pdf format to allow you to edit the activities to meet the needs of the students in your classroom.
The specific contents of the learning package includes the following items (the page count for these items are actual student handouts as answer key page counts are not included):
-- Learning Goals and Objectives for this unit correlated to the AP Bio ETS, NGSS and Common Core Learning standards (2 pages)
-- Origin of Life and Phylogenetics Completion Notes (15 pages)
-- PowerPoint to accompany the Origin of Life and Phylogenetics Completion Notes (62 slides)
-- Phylogeny and the Origin of Life Reading Worksheet (5 pages) (28 questions)
-- Origin of Life Exam (6 pages) (35 multiple choice and 2 short answer questions)
Origin of Life and Phylogenetic Learning Goals
Upon the completion of this unit the student will be able to:
1. describe the conditions of the early earth including its reducing atmosphere.
2. describe the contribution that Miller and Urey made towards developing a model
for abiotic synthesis of organic molecules.
3. provide plausible evidence to support the hypothesis that chemical evolution
resulting in life's origin occurred in four stages: abiotic synthesis of organic
monomers, abiotic synthesis of polymers, formation of protobionts,
origin of genetic information (RNA world hypothesis).
4. state the endosymbiont hypothesis and list evidence supporting this.
5. discuss the origin of aerobic respiration, multicellularity and land based life.
6. explain why the domain system is a better description of the probable evolution
of life than the five-kingdom system of classification.
7. use cladistic analysis to determine branches on phylogenetic trees.
8. explain why phylogenetic tree describes the evolutionary relationships among
species better than a cladogram.
AP Biology Learning Objectives ETS
LO 1.13 Students will be able to Construct and/or justify mathematical models, diagrams, or simulations that represent processes of biological evolution. [SP 1.1, SP 2.1]
LO 1.17 Students will be able to pose scientific questions about a group of organisms whose relatedness is described by a phylogenetic tree or cladogram in order to (1) identify shared characteristics, (2) make inferences about the evolutionary history of the group, and (3) identify character data that could extend or improve the phylogenetic tree. [SP 3.1]
LO 1.18 Students will be able to evaluate evidence provided by a data set in conjunction with a phylogenetic tree or a simple cladogram to determine evolutionary history and speciation. [SP 5.3]
LO 1.19 Students will be able to create a phylogenetic tree or simple cladogram that correctly represents evolutionary history and speciation from a provided data set. [SP 1.1]
LO 1.20 Students will be able to analyze data related to questions of speciation and extinction throughout the Earth’s history. [SP 5.1]
LO 1.21 Students will be able to Design a plan for collecting data to investigate the scientific claim that speciation and extinction have occurred throughout the Earth’s history. [SP 4.2]
LO 1.27 Students will be able to describe a scientific hypothesis about the origin of life on Earth. [SP 1.2]
LO 1.28 Students will be able to evaluate scientific questions based on hypotheses about the origin of life on Earth. [SP 3.3]
LO 1.29 Students will be able to describe the reasons for revisions of scientific hypotheses of the origin of life on Earth. [SP 6.3]
LO 1.30 Students will be able to evaluate scientific hypotheses about the origin of life on Earth. [SP 6.5]
LO 1.31 Students will be able to evaluate the accuracy and legitimacy of data to answer scientific questions about the origin of life on Earth. [SP 4.4]
LO 1.32 Students will be able to justify the selection of geological, physical, and chemical data that reveal early Earth conditions. [SP 4.1]
NGSS Learning Standards
HS-LS4-1. Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.
HS-ESS2-7. Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth’s systems and life on Earth.
Common Core State Standards Connections:
RST.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.
WHST.9-12.1 Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
WHST.9-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.
WHST.9-12.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
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