Bioinformatics Education Dissemination: Reaching Out, Connecting and Knitting-together

Curricular Materials

  1. Tree reading and interpretation activity
  2. Whippo PowerPoint presentation
  3. Materials from the Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes (ENSI) website "Becoming whales "
  4. The whale evolution kiosk
  5. Whale search (a BEDROCK participant project)

Tree reading and interpretation activity

[more details coming soon....]

Building evolutionary trees from different data sets or using different tree-building methods will often produce different phylogenetic hypotheses about the relationships between taxa. In order to look across multiple lines of evidence it is important to know how to systematically read and compare trees. This table-top, small group activity is designed to take advantage of the rich collection of data sets analyzed as part of Gatesy, et al's analysis of the total available evidence around the phylogenetic position of cetacea.

In overview, the activity involves having students work with different printed cladograms to identify conflicting topologies and learn to make comparisons when different taxa are included in the trees. The Gatesy analysis produced a collection of 19 different trees based on different datasets. After a brief introduction to some tree reading conventions groups of students receive different parts of the collection and use their data to decide which of several hypotheses is supported. Whole class discussion then can be used to address reasons for the different evolutionary trees and how biologists work with conflicting datasets.

Evolutionary Investigation: a PowerPoint Presentation

This presentation investigates the evolutionary relationship between whales and hippos.

Becoming whales

from the Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes (ENSI) website

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. <description quoted from site>

The whale evolution kiosk

from the Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes (ENSI) website

This is a new, very clever interactive online experience for your students, created by Lara Sox-Harris at San Jose State University, who has kindly consented to this link. When you click on the title (Whale Evolution Kiosk) above, it will take you into a self-guided tutorial on the necessary elements of whale anatomy, fossils, DNA, and classification. These will all provide the mutually reinforcing evidence for whale evolution, all in delightful animations and interactions. Note the Kiosk Worksheet developed and kindly offered by G. Bromiley. <description quoted from site>

Whale search

a BEDROCK participant project

Steve Hammack from Los Gatos High School and Larry Flammer from Del Mar High School got started on a whale evolution module as part of a BEDROCK workshop in Sunnyvale California.

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