Evolution

This is a course where students explore the concepts of Evolution, include genetics and heredity, natural selection and extinction. Students tie these ideas to an investigation of an organ system in three different organisms and compare and contrast the systems in order to draw conclusions about Evolution.

Readings: 
excerpts from: The New York Times Science Section
Charles Darwin. On the Origin of Species
Media Used: 
Virtual Pig Dissection Simulator
PBS.org/evolution- articles, interactive activities, and videos
Significant Assignments: 

Students will complete a dissection of a fetal pig. Before beginning this dissection students will research a specific organ system. They will be asked to research this system first in a human, then an organism of their choosing.

From this research students will be asked to come up with their own original question about the system they choose. They will then examine this system in the fetal pig during the dissection as well as collect the information necessary to answer their question. Once they have completed their dissection they will analyze their system in the three organisms and complete a laboratory report and research paper focused on an original and testable hypothesis that they have formulated based on the three systems.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Create a travel map and drawings representing the locations Darwin traveled and his observations during his trip to the Galapagos Islands after reading excerpts from his book.
Create tables and charts of the different phenotypes of classmates.
Translate sample DNA bases into amino acid sequences.
Identify different types of mutations and their causes.
Draw and track the process of DNA replication.
Calculate probabilities of genotypic trait inheritance using Punnet Squares.
Students calculate probabilities of phenotypic trait inheritance using Punnet Squares.
Create an organism using sample alleles, genes, and chromosomes that represent phenotypic traits.
Read and analyze NYT science articles then formulate critical thinking and opinion questions for classmates to answer.
Research the structure, function, processes and disorders of an organ system in the human body.
Research the structure, function, processes and disorders of an organ system in an organism of the student’s choosing.
Formulate a testable question to focus and drive a dissection of a fetal pig.
Dissect a fetal pig focusing on a specific organ system.
Record qualitative and quantitative observations.
Write a formal lab report.
Compare and contrast structural and functional aspects of organ systems in three different organisms.
Revise drafts scientific papers.
Connect evolutionary relationships to observed similarities and differences in organism organ systems.

Sample PBATs: 
Which Digestive System is the Most Effective? Comparing the Fetal Pig, the Human and a Cow. Students must defend their analysis using data and evidence they have gained through labs, experiments, and research.