Big Idea 15: Diversity and Evolution of Living Organisms

A. The scientific theory of evolution is the organizing principle of life science.

B. The scientific theory of evolution is supported by multiple forms of evidence.

C. Natural Selection is a primary mechanism leading to change over time in organisms.

General Information
Number: SC.6.L.15
Title: Diversity and Evolution of Living Organisms
Type: Big Idea
Subject: Science
Grade: 6
Body of Knowledge: Life Science

Related Benchmarks

This cluster includes the following benchmarks.

Related Access Points

This cluster includes the following access points.

Independent

SC.6.L.15.In.1
Classify animals into major groups, such as insects, fish, reptiles, mammals, and birds.

Supported

SC.6.L.15.Su.1
Sort common animals by their physical characteristics.

Participatory

SC.6.L.15.Pa.1
Match animals based on a given shared characteristic.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this topic.

Lesson Plans

Long Live Periphyton!:

In this Model Eliciting Activity (MEA), students will become familiar with the use of scientific names, Linnaeus' binomial nomenclature, and Classification of Living Things. At the same time students will be learning about periphyton in the Everglades, how it forms, its importance, and the factors that affect its development. They will engage in solving a problem situation in which they will have to select the best area to reinsert some fish species that depend on periphyton.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Classification of Living Things:

Students will explore various types of organisms, and collaborate with peers to create a system (model) of classifying those organisms. Students will use scientific models and tools to organize, classify, and identify organisms. Students will identify methods of classification used for living things by sorting and classifying everyday objects, exploring organisms through a digital scavenger hunt, creation of a graphic organizer, and through collaborative engagement. Students will understand that all organisms are classified based on shared characteristics.

Type: Lesson Plan

Classification and Binomial Nomenclature:

In this lesson, students will explore the classification system and investigate why organisms are classified together. Students will also gain an understanding of binomial nomenclature by creating a fictional organism and naming their new creature.

Type: Lesson Plan

Classification of Organisms:

Students will be given representative living organisms. They will classify the organisms based on any system they developed. They will have to justify their decisions during peer review.

Type: Lesson Plan

Alien Attributes:

Students play the role as astronaut/biologist and are sent to an alien planet where they must identify and classify new species based on their external attributes. This is a creative and fun way to explain the Linnaean system after students create their own aliens, not knowing their purpose.

Type: Lesson Plan

I Am a Part of a Kingdom?:

This lesson is designed to help students describe how and why living things are classified using the Linnaean system of classification. They will be able to observe similar characteristics of organisms to determine if they are related.

 

 

Type: Lesson Plan

Organism Classification Using a Dichotomous Key:

This classification MEA provides students with a science problem in which they must create a dichotomous key and classify given organisms. The main focus of this MEA is the diversity of living organisms, as well as how they are classified.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Fun with Taxonomy and Dichotomous Keys:

Students will be introduced to the taxonomy of living things created by Linnaeus. They will learn how to use binomial nomenclature to create and solve dichotomous keys.

Type: Lesson Plan

Let’s Sort It Out:

Students will be introduced to the classification system using domains and kingdoms. They will sort cards with pictures of organisms on them into different groups and then revise if necessary after learning about the characteristics of the kingdoms.

Type: Lesson Plan

Lesson Study Resource Kit

Exploring Diversity and Evolution grades 6-8:

This toolkit is designed to assist lesson study teams as they work to develop a unit on natural selection that conforms to the state academic standards for science mathematics and English language arts.

Type: Lesson Study Resource Kit

Original Student Tutorial

Classifying Living Things:

Learn how and why plants, animals, and other organisms are classified as you complete this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Teaching Ideas

Classification, Diversity and Evolution Cladogram (Performance Task):

This is a culminating activity for 8th grade review lessons on classification and evidence of evolution.

Type: Teaching Idea

Name that Fish-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students will be able to use a dichotomous key to identify shark and batoid families.

Type: Teaching Idea

Name Game-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students will investigate what killer whales are called in other countries. They will increase their awareness of geography by mapping the names. Finally students explore Greek and Latin root words to develop a scientific vocabulary.

Type: Teaching Idea

Climbing The Tree of Life: Cladograms:

This is an activity where students create cladograms given a beginning point (species) and end point (species) using the Tree of Life website.

Type: Teaching Idea

Butterfly Sort:

This is a teaching idea where students develop a classification scheme for butterflies and moths based on observable traits. Through the development and discussion of classification schemes, students begin to make inferences about evolutionary relationships.

This activity was used in the BIOSCOPES Diversity and Ecology Institute.

Type: Teaching Idea

Creepy Critters:

The lead scientist from a newly discovered planet similar to Earth sends you illustrations of the organisms and asks you to help develop a classification system. Your role is to study the illustrations and come up with a possible classification scheme based on the information provided about each organism. You'll be asked to explain to the scientific team how and why you organized the creatures this way.

Type: Teaching Idea

Primate Dichotomous Key-SeaWord Classrooom Activity:

Students will research and evaluate ten primate species. The student will construct a dichotomous key to classify ten primate species into distinct categories.

Type: Teaching Idea

Virtual Manipulative

Mesquite - Phylogenetic Trees:

Students use software to create evolutionary trees by comparing and contrasting physical traits.

This activity demonstrates the complexity of creating evolutionary trees when multiple traits are being analyzed. The use of the software simplifies the analysis without compromising the learning objectives.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Original Student Tutorial

Classifying Living Things:

Learn how and why plants, animals, and other organisms are classified as you complete this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this topic.