By: E. Margaret Evans, Carl Zimmer, Linda Allison, and Sarah Disbrow
Edited by: Judy Diamond
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Virus and the Whale: Exploring Evolution in Creatures Small and Large
|Type of Product:||NSTA Press Book (also see downloadable PDF version of this book)
|Grade Level:||Middle School, Informal Education
|Read Inside:||Read a sample chapter: Diatoms: One-Celled Wonders
Masters of all the activities are available here: Virus and the Whale activites
Our reviewers—top-flight teachers and other outstanding science educators—have determined that this resource is among the best available supplements for science teaching.
[Read the full review]
With this lively book of activities as their guide, students can follow seven scientists into their labs and out to the field to discover how evolution works. Meanwhile, you’ll benefit from the practical help the book provides with the twin challenges of evolution: what to teach and how to teach it.
For students, Virus and the Whale brings to light some of today’s most exciting and up-to-date research through the stories of scientists who study evolution. Each featured research project highlights an important aspect of evolutionary biology, from the “arms race” between viruses and their human hosts to the long-term evolutionary changes that can turn a land mammal into a whale. The activities lead students to investigate evolution as they try out the kinds of creative thinking skills real scientists use to make new discoveries.
For teachers, three preliminary chapters explain how to use the scientists’ stories as a logical framework for teaching evolutionary concepts. These chapters provide accurate natural history background; offer additional information on the evolution of each of the seven organisms investigated in the book; and introduce common ways in which children and adults think and learn about evolution. Each activity lists learning outcomes tied to the National Science Education Standards and includes assessment questions and materials lists.
Virus and the Whale combines a dynamic narrative with easy-to-use activities, clear illustrations, and a welcome dose of humor.
Ideas For Use
Designed to be used with middle-school-age youth, the activities in this book work in almost any setting, they are youth-centered, and they are designed to encourage social interaction. Each of the seven activities incorporates concepts of inquiry-based learning and the 4-H Youth Development experiential learning model. Along with the activities, the book provides many resources for teachers and youth leaders.
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Scientific habits of mind
|Intended User Role:||Curriculum Supervisor, Informal Educator, Middle-Level Educator, Teacher
|Educational Issues:||Assessment of students, Classroom management, Curriculum, Educational research, Inquiry learning, Instructional materials, Learning theory, Teacher content knowledge, Teacher preparation, Teaching strategies
Preface and Acknowledgements
by Eugenie C. Scott
How to Use This Book
Making Sense of Evolution
Evolution in Seven Organisms
Teaching and Learning About Evolution
Exploring Evolution Activities
Activity 1 – HIV: Evolving Menace
Explore HIV, the AIDS virus, and discover how HIV’s rapid evolution makes and effective vaccine so difficult to create.
Activity 2 - Diatoms: One-Celled Wonders
Investigate the birth of a new species—a one-celled diatom—and learn from the fossil record how this species evolved.
Activity 3 - Ants & Company: Tiny Farms
Visit the smallest farm in the world—a co-evolved association between farming ants, their fungus crop, crop pests, and bacteria.
Activity 4 - Hawaiian Flies: Song & Dance Success
Learn how over 800 kinds of flies have evolved from a single species of Drosophila that blew ashore on the remote islands of Hawaii.
Activity 5 - Galápagos Finches: Famous Beaks
Conduct fieldwork on Galápagos finches and learn what has caused scientists to rethink the speed of evolution.
Activity 6 - Humans & Chimps: All in the Family
Compare the DNA of human chimpanzees to learn how closely related we are.
Activity 7 - Whales: Walking Into the Past
Travel back in time to an ancient shore—the cradle of early whales—to examine fossil evidence of whales that walked.
About the Authors
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National Standards Correlation
This resource has 22 correlations with the National Standards.
- Life Science
- Structure and function in living systems
- Disease is a breakdown in structures or functions of an organism. Some diseases are the result of intrinsic failures of the system. Others are the result of damage by infection by other organisms. (5-8)
- Reproduction and heredity
- Every organism requires a set of instructions for specifying its traits (5-8)
- Heredity is the passage of these instructions from one generation to another. (5-8)
- A human cell contains many thousands of different genes. (5-8)
- Hereditary information is contained in genes, located in the chromosomes of each cell. (5-8)
- The characteristics of an organism can be described in terms of a combination of traits. (5-8)
- Some traits are inherited and others result from interactions with the environment. (5-8)
- Regulation and behavior
- An organism's behavior evolves through adaptation to its environment. (5-8)
- How a species moves, obtains food, reproduces, and responds to danger are based in the species' evolutionary history (5-8)
- Populations and ecosystems
- A population consists of all individuals of a species that occur together at a given place and time. (5-8)
- All populations living together and the physical factors with which they interact compose an ecosystem. (5-8)
- The number of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and abiotic factors, such as quantity of light and water, range of temperatures, and soil composition.
- Diversity and adaptations of organisms
- Millions of species of animals, plants, and microorganisms are alive today. (5-8)
- Biological evolution accounts for the diversity of species developed through gradual processes over many generations (5-8)
- Biological adaptations include changes in structures, behaviors, or physiology that enhance survival and reproductive success in a particular environment (5-8)
- Fossils indicate that many organisms that lived long ago are extinct. (5-8)
- Extinction of species is common; most of the species that have lived on the earth no longer exist. (5-8)
- Science as Inquiry
- Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
- Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations.
- Content Standards
- Quality Teaching
- Deepens educators’ content knowledge, provides them with research-based instructional strategies to assist students in meeting rigorous academic standards, and prepares them to use various types of classroom assessments appropriately. (NSDC)
- Teaching Standards
- Teachers of science plan an inquiry-based science program for their students.
- Select science content and adapt and design curricula to meet the interests, knowledge, understanding, abilities, and experiences of students.
- Select teaching and assessment strategies that support the development of student understanding and nurture a community of science learners.
- Teachers of science develop communities of science learners that reflect the intellectual rigor of scientific inquiry.
- Model and emphasize the skills, attitudes, and values of scientific inquiry.
“…[T]he authors outline seven classroom activities based on current research in evolutionary theory and practice. … An excellent classroom-ready tool.”
Curriculum Connections, School Library Journal, Fall 2006
“Virus and the Whale is a new, exciting way of teaching evolution that matches up the National Science Education Standards with the instructional materials being used and provides the teacher with clear-cut learning outcomes and a series of assessment questions for seven activities…. This book is must reading for all science educators….”
Science Books & Films, July/August 2006
“…[T]he authors provide frameworks to virtually guide students into the labs of seven scientists and into the field to discover the mechanism for, and evidence of evolution. Each featured research project highlights an aspect of evolutionary biology, from the ‘arms race’ between viruses and humans, to how and why some land mammals evolved into whales.”
SciTech Book News, June 2006
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