Unit F: Evolution of Earth’s Diversity

Big Idea: Natural and manmade changes impact the Earth’s diversity over time

Topic #1: Geological Time Scale

Learning Goal #18: I can create an accurate scale model of the geological time scale, highlighting major geological and biological events in Earth’s history, and explain my understanding of how scientists use evidence to establish a timeline.

Assessment: Make your own GTS

Guiding Questions:

  1. How are fossils and rock strata used to determine relative and/or absolute age?
  2. How do major geological events affect rock strata?
  3. How do scientists use evidence (fossil record, rock strata) to establish a timeline?
  4. Where do major biological events fit in the geological time scale?


Topic #2: Evidence of Evolution

Learning Goal #19: I can analyze fossil and biological evidence to identify anatomical similarities and differences among organisms in order to infer evolutionary relationships.

Assessment: Activity: Whale Tales

Guiding Questions:

  1. What are fossils, and how can they be used as evidence of evolution?
  2. What is a vestigial structure, and how can it be used as evidence of evolution?
  3. What is a homologous structure, and how can it be used as evidence of evolution?
  4. What is embryology, and how can it be used as evidence of evolution?

Topic #3: Natural Selection and Adaptation

Learning Goal # 20: I can use mathematical reasoning to explain how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time

Assessment: Activity: Bye Bye Birdie

Guiding Questions:

  1. What is natural selection, and how does it work?
  2. What is adaptation, and how does it affect a population?
  3. How might a genetic trait affect an organism’s chance of survival?
  4. How does the environment influence populations over time?

Topic #4: Heredity and Mutations

Learning Goal #21: I can use a model to describe why structural changes to genes (mutations) may cause genetic variation of traits, possibly resulting in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the organism and its population.

Assessment: Activity: Snorks

Guiding Questions:

  1. What are genes, and how do they form an organism’s traits?
  2. How are traits of one generation passed on to the next generation?
  3. What is a mutation, and how can it be harmful, beneficial, or neutral?

Topic #5: Human Impact

Learning Goal #22: I can evaluate information to describe the human impact on the Earth’s diversity.

Assessment: TBD

Guiding Questions:

  1. What are some ways, intentional and unintentional, that humans impact the Earth’s diversity?
  2. What is artificial selection, and how can it be used to influence the inheritance of desired traits?