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Becoming whales - A lesson on whale evolution

Becoming whales - A lesson on whale evolution

A lesson on whale evolution based on DNA, geological, paleontological, physiological and morphological evidence. Students will experience the historical discovery of fossils which increasingly link whales to earlier land-dwelling mammals. This experience reveals how scientists can make predictions about past events, based on the theory and evidence that whales evolved. Such predictions suggest the age and location of sediments where fossils of early whales would most likely be found, and even their traits. This lesson also provides confirmation, with multiple independent lines of evidence, that there IS a series of intermediate forms, showing gradual accumulation of changes, linking certain terrestrial mammal groups with modern whales.
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Amanda Johnson
Amanda Johnson (Teacher (K-12))
36 weeks ago

There are so many resources for learning about whales. 

Erin Dunroe
Erin Dunroe (Teacher (K-12))
8 years ago

This was an excellent lesson plan!  It was well organized and clearly laid out.  It also has all the resources that a teacher would require to use the lesson.  The creator has stated exactly what needs to be done before an during the lesson.  The creator has also listed possible extensions for the lesson as well as homework and an assessment.  I like how this assignment is interactive. It is a great way for students to be introduced to evolution!  My middle school students will love how a story goes along with the assignment.  I also like that the assignment is inquiry-based.  So the students have to use their clues to decide where the whales go along the geological timeline.

Time spent reviewing site: 20 minutes
Diana Morarescu
Diana Morarescu (Student)
10 years ago
This is a very good resource for evolution classes. The flow of information is somewhat difficult to follow, as the website layout is not extremely user frienldy.
F. Guess
F. Guess (null)
13 years ago
Excellent, timely, well-researched, and highly recommended for both content and
pedagogical quality.
I came across this tutorial last year while reviewing lessons on evolution,
especially lessons that address "evidence" as has now (again) come to the fore
in teaching about evolution in public K-12 school context.
The sequence of whale evolution is the new favorite textbook example, partyl
because it includes such fascinating and fun examples of intermediary (which, by
the way, certain anti-science interests had previously touted the lack of).
I WISH I were currently able to try this lesson out with kids, but as a former
science teacher I am confident it is a good lesson.

Technical Remarks:

Suggest to secondary-level teachers to prepare by reading up a little on latest
findings/research on whale evolution and/or have kids do some up-to-date
research. Also, check up on the current state of the creation/evolution
"controversy" and any legal battles in your area.
Having kids critically examine the "evidence against evolution" (IE creationist
criticisms) might be an intersting exercise if the teacher feels confident
enough to separate rigorous science from pseudo-science and to separate relgious
indoctrination from science education.
Used in course? Yes