HS-LS4-1 Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.
Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on a conceptual understanding of the role each line of evidence has relating to common ancestry and biological evolution. Examples of evidence could include similarities in DNA sequences, anatomical structures, and order of appearance of structures in embryological development.
Assessment Boundary: none
This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.
Tips for Including the Performance Expectation
Students should be familiar with the principle of descent with modification, phylogenetics, and how to create a cladogram, before starting the activity. In the lesson students are asked to answer the question “Which of these mammals are the most closely related?” Students apply their understanding of phylogenetics to create a cladogram to answer the question. As students prepare their initial arguments with claim, evidence, and justification of evidence, and again as they write their final individual argument to answer the question, they communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by evidence from amino acid sequences, in this particular case amino acid sequences 1-40 for the hemoglobin subunit alpha protein for nine mammals. The preface, introduction, student assessment samples, and appendix of the full book provide the teacher with background on how to support students in their small group work and class discussions as they progress through the argumentation cycle.
The opening reading for this particular lesson is long and information-dense. Teachers should consider providing support for students to help them make sense of the reading. Teachers can use partner reading strategies, such as the “Think Aloud” routine. With this routine, one student is reading aloud and at the same time comments on what they are thinking as they are processing the text, while the other student listens, comments, and asks questions. Students can also mark up the text with comments and questions as they read, or they can use a reading log (e.g. a T- chart with one column titled “Important ideas and information from the text” and the other column titled “My thoughts and questions”). Teachers can also assign paragraphs to students to read aloud, and ask volunteers to restate what was being read, and encourage students to ask questions of what was being read.