Investigating Common Descent: Formulating Explanations and Models (Grades 9-12)

Author/Source: National Academy of Sciences (via Understanding Evolution)

Overview: Students formulate explanations and models that simulate structural and biochemical data as they investigate the misconception that humans evolved from apes.

Concepts: This lesson covers the following concepts:

  • Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry.
  • Similarities among existing organisms provide evidence for evolution.
  • Anatomical similarities of living things reflect common ancestry.
  • All life forms use the same basic DNA building blocks.
  • Scientists pose, test, and revise multiple hypotheses to explain what they observe.
  • Our understanding of life through time is based upon multiple lines of evidence.
  • Scientists use the similarity of DNA nucleotide sequences to infer the relatedness of taxa.
  • Scientists use anatomical evidence to infer the relatedness of taxa.
Grade Level: 9-12

Time: Two class periods

Teacher Background: Explore these links for additional information on the topics covered in this lesson: