Exploratory Activities for Understanding Evolutionary Relationships Depicted by Phylogenetic Trees: United but Diverse

Erin L. McCullough, Lauren Verdeflor, Alaina Weinsztok, Jason R. Wiles, Steve Dorus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Evolution explains both the unity and the diversity of all organisms, and developing students' ability to represent and communicate evolutionary relationships is an important component of a complete biology education. We present a series of student-centered, exploratory activities to help students develop their tree-thinking skills. In these activities, students use complementary phenotypic and molecular data to explore how to build phylogenetic trees and interpret the evolutionary relationships they represent. This learning module is designed to engage students in the process of science, provide them with active learning experiences using online bioinformatics tools, and foster their appreciation for the evolutionary connections across the tree of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-337
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Biology Teacher
Volume82
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Keywords

  • DNA sequences
  • bioinformatics
  • cladogram
  • evolution
  • inquiry
  • tree-thinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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