Bundle 4: Changing Life

Welcome to Bundle 4- Changing Life


This unit covers topics such as adaptation, evolution through natural selection, artificial selection, human impact on ecological systems, embryological development, genetic variation, diversity, and extinction.

Big ideas:

  1. Life in Iowa (as in the rest of the world) has changed over time in response to environment and other biotic interactions.
  2. Living things have many developmental similarities that indicate a common ancestor.
  3. Adaptations are possible due to the existence of natural variation and changing environment (note: mutation also plays a role but is not the focus).
  4. Human beings act as an extreme environmental impact and changes can be observed in ecological systems as a result.

Standards addressed:

MS-LS4-1 Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships. 
MS-LS4-3 Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the fully formed anatomy.
Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increases some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.
Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.
Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.

Tiers in depth:

Tier 1:

The entire class will consider a specific geographical location (near the school, preferably – but somewhere in Iowa). As a class and in small groups, they will explore, compare, and contrast the current and historic living inhabitants of the area. Students will ultimately describe how an environment and its species are related, and use their data to look for patterns and consider how a local ecosystem has changed over time.

Tier 2:

Students will have a chance to look more closely at an organism of their choice. In small groups or individuals, they will analyze and interpret data from those organisms’ life histories, compare living and historic individuals, and construct evidence-based arguments to explain how and why they have changed over time. This is also the tier in which other labs or activities to explore mechanisms (such as natural selection) may be utilized.

Tier 3:

Students will hone in on one species population (or system), and use the skills and data analysis techniques they have learned in this unit to construct a scientific solution for mitigating human impacts. Their audience for this written, oral, or filmed presentation will be a local governing body.