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Big Idea
The evolution of animals has led to new classification systems and complex body structures.
Essential Questions
  • What characteristics do all chordates share?
  • What are the subphylums of Phylum Chordate? How is the body plan of vertebrates different from that of invertebrates?  
  • What are the 3 kinds of fish? Why do scientists think lobe finned fish are important?
  • Compare and contrast the external and internal anatomy of a cartilage fish and a bony fish.
  • What characteristics do all amphibians share and how are they further divided into orders?  Compare and contrast the external and internal anatomy of a frog and a fish.
  •  How are amphibians adapted to land? Why is the evolution of amphibians so important? Why are scientists worried about the global decline in amphibians?
  • How do we differentiate among the four groups of modern reptiles?  
  • What advantages do reptiles have over fish and amphibians?
  • How did the extinction of dinosaurs during the late Cretaceous Period provide opportunities for other kinds of organisms to evolve?
Standards


SCHS-S01-C01-01
Evaluate scientific information for relevance to a given problem.
SCHS-S04-C03-01
Identify the relationships among organisms within populations, communities, ecosystems, and biomes.
SCHS-S04-C04-06
Analyze, using a biological classification system (i.e., cladistics, phylogeny, morphology, DNA analysis), the degree of relatedness among various species.
SCHS-S01-C02-01
Demonstrate safe and ethical procedures (e.g., use and care of technology, materials, organisms) and behavior in all science inquiry.
SCHS-S04-C03-02
Describe how organisms are influenced by a particular combination of biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) factors in an environment.
SCHS-S04-C05-05
Describe the levels of organization of living things from cells, through tissues, organs, organ systems, organisms, populations, and communities to ecosystems.
SCHS-S01-C02-05
Record observations, notes, sketches, questions, and ideas using tools such as journals, charts, graphs, and computers.
Content/Core Ideas
  • Chordates all have a notochord, pharyngeal pouches, a dorsal hollow nerve cord and a tail beyond the anus.  Other than a few common traits chordates are very different from one another.  
  • The two subphylums are vertebrates and nonvertebrates. Body plans differ with a dorsal nerve cord and ventral heart which is opposite in invertebrates.
  • There are jawless cartilaginous and bony fish. Lobe finned fish are thought to be the common ancestor to amphibians.
  • The internal and external anatomy of fish is  very similar between classes. The primary difference between classes of fish is the use of cartilage or bone to support their body and method of reproduction.  
  • All amphibians have thin moist skin; clawless feet; aquatic larva changes to terrestrial adult; ectothermic (Cold blooded); Gills/lungs/skin for respiration; 3 chambered heart; Closed 2-loop circulation; Eggs without shells/extra or extra membranes
  • Amphibians are able to breathe with lungs as an adult and with gills as larva.  Amphibians are the ancestor to all terrestrial vertebrates. Amphibians are the first indicator of environmental threats.
  • Reptiles do not form a distinct evolutionary group as birds and mammals do. Rather, the Class Reptilia consists of four orders which are very different from each other
  • Dry scaly skin enables reptiles to live their entire lives out of the water where as fish and amphibians must remain in or around water.  Reptiles have amniotic eggs which allows eggs to develop out of water, fish and amphibian eggs need water in order to grow and develop.
  • The exit of dinosaurs paved the way for modern reptiles to appear.
Academic Vocabulary
chordate
notochord
pharyngeal pouches
post anal tail
hollow nerve cord
tunicates
lancelets
vertebrae
vertebrate
invertebrate
ray finned fish
lobe finned fish
cartilage
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lateral line system
operculum
swim bladder
countercurrent flow
duodenum
esophagus
stomach
intestine
gallbladder
liver
pancreas
urinary bladder
pyloric cecum
gills
atrium
ventricle
cerebrum
cerebellum
medulla oblongata
oviparous
ovoviviparous
viviparous
anura
nictitating membrane
tympanic membrane
columella
amplexus
metamorphosis
tadpole
cloaca
estivation
hibernation
ectotherm
endotherm
Squamata
Crocodilians
Testudines
tuataras
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amniotic egg
carapace (turtle)
plastron
amnion
chorion
yolk sac
allantois
Resources
Assessments
These are SOME ways for students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the content.
  • Students will use information provided in the book, from notes and internet research to answer the following question: Is it better to be a vertebrate or invertebrate?
  • Students will write/draw a comic strip depicting and explaining the evolution of fish.
  • Students will examine and compare the internal and external  anatomy of a shark (cartilage fish) and a perch (bony fish) through dissection.
  • Students will examine and compare the external and internal anatomy of a frog and a fish through dissection.  
  • Students will research the evolution of amphibians and their importance to the ecosystem, and present the findings to the class.
  • Students will make a diagram of the phylogenetic tree of reptiles.
  • Students will complete a virtual dissection of a reptile.
  • Students will write a discussion on the advantages of reptiles and the importance of the amniotic egg to adaptations of life on dry land.
  • Students will use pictures to depict the evolution of reptiles before, during and after the dinosaurs.