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Students will be introduced to the scientific phenomena of why whales are mammals and not fish in this fun and engaging activity! Students begin the activity by drawing a picture of what they think whales may have looked like thousands of years ago when they roamed the land. Next, students label the parts of a modern day whale to later use as evidence of evolution. Students then cut out pictures of six different whales throughout history and place in them in order from oldest to youngest. Next, using the labeled diagram, they find evidence of whales evolution using a checklist. Finally, students answer questions about whales evolution and try to figure out what the whales closest living relative is! This activity will take two to three class periods and is fully aligned with NGSS as described below.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) changes the paradigm of how science is taught. NGSS employs three dimensions when examining scientific phenomena; scientific practices, core ideas and crosscutting concepts. This lesson is aligned with NGSS and is designed with three distinct dimensions in place.
NGSS alignment for this activity –
3-LS4-1 – Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago.
MS-LS4 - Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
Scientific Practice – Students will analyze and interpret data regarding the evolution of whales from a land animal to an animal that lives in the sea.
Core Idea – Evidence of common ancestry and diversity.
Cross Cutting Concepts – Scale, proportion and quantity
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