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Life Science: About the Course

Teacher-Talk Life

[Teacher-talklife] Session 6--Evolution and the Tree of Life

From: Joan Edgar <jedgar_at_hanoverschools.org>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2012 22:10:14 -0400

Hello fellow learners--

My own kids and I took a trip to the Museum of Science in Boston today,
and, with all of the reading, discussing, viewing, and writing I have been
doing about evolution and the tree of life, I noticed things there that I
hadn't noticed before, and had some great conversations with my kids,
looking at the shell and animal samples, the imprint fossils, and other
biology rooms, marveling at the amazing adaptations of the geckos at the
live animal show.

I noticed kids of all ages there, exploring at different levels all of the
concepts that we have been discussing in session 5 and 6. Some were with
parents or guardians, others with summer camp programs. All were
mesmerized by the live animals and the displays that helped them to
discover for themselves something they hadn't known about biology and

I did not know when I was at the Museum of Science today that the subject
of the Channel-TalkLife posting was to explore which of the topics we've
discussed in these two sessions would be appropriate to our students. As I
teach 6th grade, I certainly think all of these subjects would be
appropriate to my students. Yet, having watched these kids today, some
very young, I would say some level of understanding of all these topics
would be appropriate throughout the elementary years. Particularly as we
have read that students have a hard time incorporating scientific knowledge
into their tacit understanding of how natural selection, evolution and
relatedness between species and over time, it seems it would be good to
start very young children understanding these facts, in very basic and
age-appropriate ways. Hearing correct information over the years and
discussing biology through a child's young life, adding more in-depth
information as they get older would help young people learn how the living
world works.

Enjoy your summertime, folks, and if you live near Boston, head on over to
the Green Wing of the Museum of Science. There you will find a big tree
ring model which has the names of many, *many* species in tiny, unreadable
print all the way around the ìbarkî of a picture of a giant tree, sliced
through to show itís rings. One can read the names of the species by
rotating the big model like the Wheel of Fortune, reading the names through
a stationary magnifying glass. You can figure out how far back common
ancestors would have been in the tree rings and the time of extinction of
different animals is indicated. I think this tree ring model is more
accurate, but of course less usable, than the tree model used in the video
series. It was really awesome and my boys and I enjoyed it greatly,
especially in seeing the great distance between humans' and fruit fly's
common ancestor!

--Joan Edgar
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Received on Fri Jun 29 2012 - 09:48:15 EDT



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