Lesson 4: Great Transition Moving from Water to Land

Authors: Meredith Salmon & Dr. Johanna T. Ohlmeyer
[ezcol_1quarter]Main Idea:[/ezcol_1quarter] [ezcol_3quarter_end]The first backboned animals to appear on Earth were fish. The lobe-finned fish developed both lungs and legs ultimately giving rise to the first tetrapods and land animals. Around 375 million years ago, a major transition occurred in vertebrate history. Lobed finned fish began to explore land. This transition from water to land resulted in the development of limbs and the ability to breathe. These milestones were very important in evolutionary history.[/ezcol_3quarter_end]

[ezcol_1quarter]Objectives:[/ezcol_1quarter] [ezcol_3quarter_end] 1. To be able to talk about whether legs evolved for walking on land.
2. To be able to explain how and why the great transition occurred.
3. To be able to describe the evidence supporting this great transition.
4. To be able to evaluate the presentations and posters of their peers.[/ezcol_3quarter_end]

[ezcol_1quarter]Students’ Skills:[/ezcol_1quarter] [ezcol_3quarter_end] Bloom Taxonomy: Knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis.
NGSS connections: HS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity. HS-LS4-1: Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.
Crosscutting concepts: Cause and Effect and Patterns.
Practices: Engaging in argument from evidence and obtaining, evaluating and communicating information.[/ezcol_3quarter_end]

[ezcol_1quarter]Materials:[/ezcol_1quarter] [ezcol_3quarter_end] Textbooks, magazine article, computers, PowerPoint, worksheets/handouts. [/ezcol_3quarter_end]

[ezcol_1quarter]Lesson Day 1:[/ezcol_1quarter] [ezcol_3quarter_end]1. Entry card: With a partner, students will answer the question, “Do you think legs evolved for walking on land? Why/Why not? They will brainstorm five reasons why or why not these questions could be supported or refuted.

2. Next to their predictions on the board, the teacher will list the five pieces of evidence that the students will have to research. They will be essentially be asked the question, “What is the evidence behind the great transition?” The students will be assigned to different partners than before and become experts on their topic. The choices will include the following and be listed in question form.
Geology: Earth timeline; describe the environment at the time (Devonian) and whether it was favorable for developing legs.
Fossils record: What does the fossil records said?
Comparative anatomy: extant animals carry with them their evolutionary history. What can we learn from them? Locomotion and breathing.
Developmental Biology: Hox genes, embryology.
Does the structure fit the function? Does function changes in accordance to context? (Think about the conditions between the Devonian versus Holocene eras)?

3. The teacher should review over the question that the students had to answer at the beginning of class and make a list of their prediction on the board for the class to see. In order to emphasize this concept, the students will watch a clip of the documentary, “Evolution: Great Transformations and Extinction.” With their partner and topic that they have been assigned, they should be actively taking notes during the video”.

4. After the clip, they will be given time to find information about their topic of choice and create a poster that displays their pieces of supporting evidence. While students are researching, the teacher should try to prevent any misunderstanding and errors that may arise. In addition, the students should look at fish versus tetrapod characteristics and take the total evidence approach emphasizing, “what extinct taxa, the ancestors of the tetrapods, could not.”

5. Once the research is finished, the students will create a poster that describes the pieces of evidence supporting their question. They will do a poster that displays their evidence and they will be required to do a poster walk. Each student will have a post-it note and be required to write one constructive comment and question for each poster.

6. Exit card: As a group, students should write down an assessment of how well they worked together as a team. In addition, each student should write down two things they learned in class and one concept they still have a question on.

7. Homework: Students will review over the pieces of evidence that were discussed in class by writing an informative paragraph or drawing a picture. They should be able to talk through the pieces of evidence that are used to explain the great transition. [/ezcol_3quarter_end]

[ezcol_1quarter]Assesment:[/ezcol_1quarter] [ezcol_3quarter_end] 1. Participation in class and during group work.
2. Participation and detailed research that is accurate and concise.
3. Thoroughness of writing questions on post it notes.
4. Collaboration. [/ezcol_3quarter_end]

[ezcol_1quarter]Teacher’s Reflections:[/ezcol_1quarter] [ezcol_3quarter_end]1. Were all of the lesson objectives met?
2. Were all of the pieces of evidence described correctly?
3. Did students learn and apply the information in an appropriate manner? [/ezcol_3quarter_end]

[ezcol_1quarter]Notes to the Teacher:[/ezcol_1quarter] [ezcol_3quarter_end]1. This lesson plan will focus on problem-based learning.
2. The teacher should direct and remind the students to use reliable resources for their research.
3. They should look at museum and university websites in order to gather information. [/ezcol_3quarter_end]