Lesson Plans and Curricula

UF CPET professional learning experiences include the opportunity for educators to create teaching materials that translate the university research experience into the formal or informal classroom. The products created vary from multi-day thematic units in our Summer Research Experience to shorter one to three day learning activities from the Summer Science Institute. Other programs such as the CATALySES, Bench to Bedside, and ICORE institutes challenge educators to propose a new pedagogical approach or inclusion of new content and evaluate the learning outcomes in their classrooms. These educator created materials are presented here in draft form with the hopes that they may serve as jumping off points for other educators. They are all freely available, but we do ask that proper attribution is given to the original author.

Click on the programs below to go directly to their section

Multi-Day Thematic Lessons| | SSI oVERT 2019 | SSI Tree of Life 2018Tree of Life: Tree Tender 2018 | CATALySES |

Multi-Day Thematic Lessons 

The Dengue Dilemma

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Dengue provides an excellent opportunity to illustrate the interaction between humans and the environment, the impact those actions can have on the health of an entire community, as well as the medical mystery of dengue and the immune response to the different serotypes. Looking at translational research, there is much work devoted to developing a vaccine, with clinical trials underway evaluating the efficacy and safety of different formulations. Always trying to minimize harm, is it possible to vaccinate against dengue without then putting a vaccinated person at risk for subsequent infection and increased immune response?

Grades:  Middle, High
Author:  J. Bokor
Program:  NIH SEPA Bench to Bedside

The Pompe Predicament

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Pompe disease affords the rare opportunity for students to consider multiple biological concepts and assemble them into a story. Instead of DNA taught separate from protein structure and function, these areas as well as enzymes, genetics and human disease are all taught together through the story of Pompe disease.  If you are currently using sickle cell disease or cystic fibrosis in your curriculum, you may want to consider adding Pompe to your toolbox! 

Grades:  High
Author:  J. Bokor
Program:  NIH SEPA Bench to Bedside

The War of the 21st Century: The Cell Cycle, Cancer, and Clinical Trials

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Cancer is a word that seems to exist in everyone’s vocabulary in the 21st century.  In this curriculum we strive to provide students with an opportunity to learn more about the mechanisms of cancer and help them to realize that even through all cancers are unique, all cancers are a result of mutations in the cell cycle.  The role of checkpoints in the cell cycle is often overlooked in the typical high school biology classsroom, so this unit was developed to expand on that particular content area and to utilize student-driven, inquiry style learning methods.  We also show students how translational medicine is leading the way to new, less invasive treatments for cancer patients through clinical trials.

Grades:  High
Authors:  J. Broo & J. Mahoney
Program:  NIH SEPA Summer Research Experience (SRE)

Chewing on Change: Exploring the Evolution of Horses in Response to Climate Change

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Despite the importance of evolution in biology, many students have difficulty with this topic and come to the classroom with negative perceptions of the theory of evolution. In addition, macroevolution takes place over such long time periods (apart from some bacteria and viruses) that the process can be hard to conceptualize and appear as a topic that is not relevant to students’ lives. We have also found that students struggle to understand natural selection. It is often taught as a list of rules or steps that students memorize, and therefore, students rarely internalize this important mechanism of evolution. Our hope is that by using a familiar organism, the horse, and engaging in the authentic practices of science including the opportunity to examine actual fossils, take measurements, and make claims based on scientific evidence, students will appreciate the elegance and predicative power of evolutionary theory. The activities in this unit require no prerequisite understanding of evolution or vocabulary associated with evolution. We believe that by focusing on concepts and then presenting the information in a more formal way will result in greater student acceptance and understanding of evolution. We also believe this hands-on inquiry approach to introducing evolution will aide in students’ ability to apply what they learn about horse evolution to other areas of biology.

Grades:  Middle, High
Authors:  J. Broo & J. Mahoney
Programs:  Summer Science Institute, NIH SEPA Summer Research Experience (SRE)

Additional resources:

Drowsy Drosophila: Rapid Evolution in the Face of Climate Change

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Natural selection is a central theme in biology and an important concept for student understanding of a wide variety of topics. One such topic is the ability for organisms to adapt to the increasing environmental stress predicted under contemporary global climate change. Global climate change will likely have substantial impacts on living organisms and it is critical to examine how genetic variation may either facilitate or limit the ability for organisms to adapt to global climate change through natural selection. In the present inquiry-based classroom activity, students will use a chill-coma recovery assay to compare thermal tolerance among six different lines (3 fast recovering lines and 3 slow recovering lines) of the fly Drosophila melanogaster. The objective of the activity is to provide students the opportunity to assess natural genetic variation in cold tolerance in Drosophila melanogaster and to discuss the implications for this variation to allow adaptation by natural selection to occur, thus facilitating persistence of the species despite a changing climate. Possible topics of discussion that can be used in conjunction with this activity include: genetics, evolutionary biology, conservation biology, global climate change, ecology, statistics, the scientific method, and many others, allowing this experiment to facilitate diverse teaching and learning opportunities. This activity will allow students to identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations, learn how to conduct a scientific investigation (including use of appropriate tools and techniques for data collection), how to use scientific technology and mathematics including a basic understanding of statistical testing and analysis, and to develop their critical thinking and communication skills.

Grades:  High
Authors:  J. Broo & J. Mahoney
Program:  Summer Science Institute (SSI); NIH SEPA Summer Research Experience (SRE)

Additional resources: 

Identification of Pathogenic Islands using Comparative Genomics Based Tools

Download Full Curriculum | Lesson 3 : Gene Cards 

This curriculum unit was created with the purpose of introducing high school students to comparative genomics and the computer based tools that scientists use to identify genomic islands.  Specifically, this unit is meant to guide students to discover virulent genes and proteins found in pathogenicity islands within the genomes of disease causing bacteria.  Explore concepts such as benefits and disadvantages of diversifying the genome; relating genome diversity to bacterial survival and fitness; modes of gene transfer; the driving forces behind genome diversity; familiarity with common pathogenic factors and the significance of these genes to pathogenesis.  Gain a better understanding of the global impact of disease outbreaks as well as a realistic comprehension of the caveats in pharmaceutical advancements and the significance of the comparative genomics in accelerating identification of targets and drug development.  Facilitate discussion about natural products, cancer research, and pharmaceutical synthesis, and ethics.

Grades:  High
Authors:  J. Bacusmo & K. Savage
Program:  NIH SEPA Summer Research Experience (SRE)

Ecological Niche Modeling: The Evolution of a Species

 

Ecological Niche Modeling: The Evolution of a Species

This unit was designed to give students the chance to accurately depict the current and future distributions of a species through the use of ecological niche modeling software. Students will observe how a specific population of their choice could evolve over the next 35 years. 

Grades:  High
Author:  J. Benskin
Programs:  Summer Science Institute (SSI); NIH SEPA Summer Research Experience (SRE)

Ebola Epidemic

Download Curriculum | Download Student Worksheets | ELISA Extension: Detecting Disease

This lesson engages students in a series of inquiry-based activities providing information on the current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, including: a jigsaw/webquest using resources from the Centers for Disease Control, a simulation based on fluid exchange to model the spread of an outbreak of infectious disease, and a “disease detective”-style mapping activity based on published data outlining the start of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea.

Grades:  Middle, High
Author:  H. Pruitt
Program:  NIH SEPA Bench to Bedside

Hands on Human Evolution: A Laboratory-Based Approach

In this unit, students use both morphological evidence and genetic evidence to understand our closest living relatives and other extinct species within the human family tree. In lesson one, students investigate different aspects of human evolution through a series of seven laboratory stations. Each station is specifically designed to allow students to investigate evolution in an evidence based manner, while providing intuitive questions to guide their critical thinking. Lesson one introduces students to the human fossil record and shows the importance of using morphological characteristics when investigating phylogenetic relationships. In lesson two, students compare stained chromosomes, amino acid sequences and base pair sequences for a variety of extant primates. They will use critical thinking skills to construct small phylogenies and determine which primates are more closely related to humans. This lesson provides the students with a basis in using multiple lines of evidence to come to scientific conclusions. Lesson two introduces students to modern techniques in the investigation of phylogenetic relationships and also highlights the importance of using both the fossil record and DNA to draw conclusions regarding relatedness.

Grades:  Middle, High
Authors:  M. Hernandez, S. Engling, D. Ouellette
Programs:  Summer Science Institute (SSI); NIH SEPA Summer Research Experience (SRE)

Learning Activities: 3D Vertebrates, From Museum Shelves to Classrooms (SSI oVert 2019)

Evidence of Evolution Homologous Structures

Download Evidence of Evolution Homologous StructuresGoogle Folder with Media Files | Sketchfab Digital Images

This lesson plan uses the products of the oVERT project, at the University of Florida, in order to make the Evidence of Evolution section of the Middle School Scope and Sequence both more hands on, and more attractive to students of the technological age. Specifically, it uses the CT (Computed Tomography) scans of vertebrate forelimbs, both as 3D models and as shapefiles, to enhance and illustrate the concepts of homologous structures, and the evolution of anatomical structures as a function of their use (i.e. locomotion, grasping, and burrowing).

Grade: Middle School
Author: B. Armstrong
Program: Summer Science Institute (SSI) oVert 2019

Cassondra & Bridget - Homologous Forelimbs by Blackburn Lab on Sketchfab

Origin and Diversity of Armor in Girdled Lizards

Download Origin and Diversity of Armor in Girdled LizardsGoogle Folder with Media FilesSketchfab Digital Images | 

The girdled lizards (Cordylidae) are a family of distinctively armored lizards endemic to Sub-Saharan Africa. Students examine lizards in this family to classify the lizards based on morphological characteristics. Students graph data on the percentage of osteoderm coverage in each lizard group and discover that natural selection due to predation has resulted in lightly armored lizards living in large rocks and more heavily armored lizards living in open areas. Students then compare their morphological classification to phylogenetic trees created from DNA analysis and discover that convergent evolution is responsible for differences in ostederm coverage within the Cordylidae family and in the animal kingdom.

Grade: High School
Author: J. Broo
Program: Summer Science Institute (SSI) oVert 2019

Jennifer - Armored Lizards by Blackburn Lab on Sketchfab

That Vertebrate Ate What Exactly? A lesson using bycatch discovery from CT scans

Download That Vertebrate Ate What Exactly?Google Folder with Media Files | Sketchfab Digital Images |

Analyzing data from various sources is one of the invaluable skills any scientist must utilize to make new discoveries. During the course of this lesson, students will analyze CT scan data and observe bycatch (or an unknown discovery) captured during the scanning process of vertebrates. Using the images created from CT scans, the students will formulate ideas about what bycatch data can reveal about their lifestyle of that animal.  Following the initial analysis the students will compare two separate CT scans of bycatch data and for the students to develop connections about known information of the organisms shown in the CT scans. Further extension of these first two phases will have the students will then compare the 3D pictures of the skulls, developed from CT scans of extant species of burrowing lizards, burrowing snakes and non-burrowing snake skulls. They will be tasked with relating the skull characteristics to the evolutionary history of snakes.

Grade: High School
Author: J. Horner
Program: Summer Science Institute (SSI) oVert 2019

Jason - Bycatch by Blackburn Lab on Sketchfab

Wing Aspect Ratio and Morphological Measurement Analysis relating to Bird Flight and Natural History

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 | Google Folder with Media FilesSketchfab Digital Images

This activity simulates analysis and identification of bird specimens based on the relationship of the natural history of bird species with the morphographic measurements and ratios compared to graphs of the same types of measurements and ratios for known examples of species for which the natural histories are given.

Grade: Middle School
Author: R. Hunter
Program: oVERT 2019

Flight - Richard by Blackburn Lab on Sketchfab

What Moves You?

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Using various bone segments to create joints that will explain planar movement and then develop a mechanical model of different joint type that will allow certain movement in a robotic unit.

Grade: Middle School
Author: T. Iansiti
Program: Summer Science Institute (SSI) oVert 2019

Tamiko - Joints and Robotics by Blackburn Lab on Sketchfab

When Did I Lose My Legs? A Limbless Lizard Tale

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 | Google Folder with Media FilesSketchfab Digital Images

The anatomical record can lie. It's a fact of evolutionary biology. Through the use of models created by the oVert project, students will examine models of extant traditional lizards, snakes and limbless lizards. Students will classify the organisms and create cladograms based on their traits. Students will then use sequence data from these species to create phylogenies showing the relationship between these species based on the more reliable molecular record. Through the use of OneZoom, the relative timing of a common ancestor between the three groups can be determined. Based on this activity, students should be able to determine the best source in determining relatedness. This activity can easily be branched into discussions of convergence/ divergence and the principles of natural selection.

Grade: High School
Author: P. Kelly
Program: Summer Science Institute (SSI) oVert 2019

Patrick - Tree-Building and Squamates by Blackburn Lab on Sketchfab

Venom: To Kill or Cure?

Download Venom: To Kill or Cure?Google Folder with Media FilesSketchfab Digital Images

In this case study, students will explore concepts of evolution, protein structure and function, taxonomy, and methods of scientific inquiry in a real-world way. Students will use 3D images, on-line resources, and published scientific papers to explore these topics related to venom while making inferences and evaluating their thinking related to taxonomic relationships and evolution. The case study should open lines of inquiry with additional questions that students can explore as an extension.

Grade: High School
Author: V. Ledford
Program: Summer Science Institute (SSI) oVert 2019

Valerie - Venom by Blackburn Lab on Sketchfab

Will You Find This Humerus? Homology Lab

Download Will You Find This Humerus? Homology LabGoogle Folder with Media FilesSketchfab Digital Images

Students often struggle with the concept of homologous and analogous structures, especially in on-level Biology classes.  This activity is designed to provide both virtual and hands-on options for teachers based on the needs and strengths of their students. Students will compare and contrast the morphology of vertebrate forelimbs, and will use this knowledge to draw conclusions about their common ancestor and descent with modification. Students will also consider adaptation and how structure is shaped by selection pressures to suit the necessary function of limbs.

Grade: High School
Author: C. McHugh-Lowther
Program: Summer Science Institute (SSI) oVert 2019

Cassondra & Bridget - Homologous Forelimbs by Blackburn Lab on Sketchfab

Bird Beak Adaptations

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Students will be taught basic information on evolution and adaptations prior to the beginning of this lesson. The students will navigate through different stations experiencing simulations of adaptations, manipulations of 3D examples, and making connections to the standards to formulate hypotheses about certain adaptations and how they manifest in the morphology.

Grade: Middle School
Author: M. Morales
Program: Summer Science Institute (SSI) oVert 2019

Miguel - Bird Beaks by Blackburn Lab on Sketchfab

Learning Activites: The Tree of Life:  Exploring Biodiversity Using Genomic and Computational Methods (SSI ToL 2018)

Ecological Niche Modeling of Florida Temperature Changes and Endangered Rabbit Survival

Ecological Niche Modeling of Florida Temperature Changes and Endangered Rabbit Survival |

Ecological Niche Models (ENMs) can be used to show many biological and environmental relationships. Applications can be used to promote conservation of species by making predictions of the future status of organisms due to climate changes, environmental changes and human impact. The Florida Marsh Rabbit is a species of concern while a subspecies that is native to the Florida Keys – Sylvilagus palustris hefneri – is endangered. This rabbit lives in shallow water environments. This species of rabbit may be adversely impacted by changing water levels along Florida coasts. Layering information on Florida sea level data with marsh rabbit abundance data may show a relationship between the productivity of the marsh rabbit. Since the Florida Keys subspecies is now endangered, it would be expected that data shows a greater impact due to more intense sea level change in that region of Florida. QGIS 2.18 software program will be used to analyze and layer data with maps in order to unite multiple data bases. Students will learn that many data bases containing useful information for scientific analysis are available for public use as well as a model example of how such databases may be used for research application.

Grade: High School

Author: R. Allen

Program: Tree of Life 2018

How Biodiverse is Your Environment

How Biodiverse Is Your Environment? |

Students will identify as many plant species in a given area. The NCBI BLAST site will be used to find the DNA sequence for the gene rbcL which is common to most plants. The DNA sequences will then be uploaded into the Mega site which will generate a phylogenic tree showing the relationships of the plants in the area.

Grade: High School

Author: R. Bartenslager

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Identifying and Acting To Mitigate an Environmental Problem

Identifying and Acting To Mitigate an Environmental Problem  |

Students identify an enviromental problem of personal concern, research the topic, plan an action to help resolve/mitigate the problem, carry it out, write it up, and present it.

Grade: High School

Author: B. Breil

Program: Tree of Life 2018

The Use of Natural History Collections Data to Learn About Ecosystems and Biodiversity

The Use of Natural History Collections Data to Learn About Ecosystems and Biodiversity |

This activity aims at engaging students in learning about species distributions, co-occurrence and conservation using institutional collections of data. A computational tool called iDigBio can be used to show on a map the spatial distribution of species through georeferencing. Gray bat whose scientific name is Myotis griserscens (mammal) is one of the endangered and threatened species in Florida. Using the provided data, students are going to use iDigBio to see how spatially distributed these species are hence analyze the data and come up with ways to protect them.

Grade: Middle School

Author: J. Chiomadzi

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Kissing Cousins? From Cladogram to Phylogenetic Tree

Kissing Cousins? From Cladogram to Phylogenetic Tree |

Kissing Cousins? From Cladogram to Phylogenetic Tree is a collection of activities that may be completed in class, assigned as homework, or a combination of the two. A variety of methods and resources are presented that can be used to clarify the concepts of evolution and the methods used to support the ideas of evolutionary relationships. NOTE: The computational analysis section is designed to facilitate the use of Chromebooks, therefore the analysis of DNA sequences requires internet access.

Grade: High School

Author: L. DeLuera

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Plant Phylogenies Pathway through Florida

Plant Phylogenies Pathway through Florida |

Evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky once said, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” Phylogenetic trees are means of hypothesizing the evolutionary relatedness of life. Consequently, a corollary was developed saying that, “Everything in biology makes more sense in light of a tree of relationships.” Using common Florida species native to a specific locale (in this case, Seminole County was used), students will explore evolutionary trends by developing phylogenetic trees and homology tables using sequence alignment tools. Each student groups’ species list will be a subset of a larger class set. Groups will have overlapping information and will see how their trees compare based on species differences. In summary of the activity, the class will attempt to compile their data into one larger tree; the result is that students will see that science doesn’t always involve clean data and emphasizes the need for more powerful computational methods to handle the vast amount of data available.

Grade: High School

Author: W. Furiosi 

Program: Tree of Life 2018

DNA to Phylogeny

DNA to Phylogeny |

DNA is universal. Every living organism on earth shares the same molecules, including DNA. The same processes are used by all living things in order to grow, reproduce, metabolize, etc. The Human Genome project mapped all of our genes and since then we can determine which genes are responsible for which traits. This has led to amazing medical treatments and will continue to do so. Because of the universality of genetics, genes can be swapped between organisms, evolutionary relationships can be seen, medical advancements have been made. Restriction enzymes have been used to cut and paste genes within an organism’s genome. DNA can be extracted and used for medical research, forensics and showing evolutionary relationships. All of this can lead to a better understanding of ourselves and how the rest of the living world works.

Grade: High School

Author: C. Goldenberg

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Using DNA data to Generate Phylogenetic Trees

Using DNA data to Generate Phylogenetic Trees |

This activity can be a stand-alone activity to demonstrate how DNA sequence is used to generate a phylogenetic tree. The intended use of the lesson is as a final activity of a Comparative Proteomics unit that explores alternative methods for analyzing evolutionary relationships between various species of fish. Students will first analyze potential evolutionary relationships based on environmental niche and morphology. Generating protein profiles using extraction and SDS-PAGE becomes a second method for considering species differences that students can utilize to develop their own cladograms. As a final activity, DNA and a web based bioinformatics tool will be used to generate a final version of a phylogenetic tree. DNA can be isolated and used for sequencing, the DNA sequence used in the online tool DNA Subway. Alternatively, DNA sequence obtained from NCBI can be loaded. Students can generate DNA sequence to be analyzed using NCBI-BLAST. DNA sequence for mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 gene for six common fish is provided. Cytochrome c oxidase was chosen because of its use in DNA barcoding.

Grade: High School

Author: K. Kehoe

Program: Tree of Life 2018

DNA,RNA and Protein Synthesis

DNA,RNA, and Protein Synthesis |

DNA is the carrier of the genetic information that determines everything about living organisms. Everyone’s hair color, height, blood type and skin color are all determined by the DNA. To convert the information from the DNA to the characteristics in the genes, a process referred to in biology as the “central dogma” occurs. This process involves the transcribing of DNA into RNA, and then the translating of RNA into a protein.
DNA is made up of building blocks called nucleotides. The nucleotides are made of nitrogen bases called Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Guanine, (A, T, C, G) whose arrangements will determine the types of genes found in living organisms. Translating the DNA sequences into an amino acid sequence which are the building blocks of proteins will determine the expression of a gene.
The activity in this lab involves a simplified way of transcribing DNA to RNA, and then translating RNA into a sentence that would represent an amino acid sequence that results in a protein. Following the simplified hands on activity, a computational method, BLAST, will be used to illustrate the process in a “real world” manner using a real DNA strand from a national database and translating it to a protein found in various animals. By observing similar animal species with this specific protein, and preparing a phylogenic tree using these animals, one could identify the relatedness of different organisms in the Tree of Life.

Grade: High School

Author: M. Lawrence

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Ecological Niche Modeling: What Processes do Scientist Use?

Ecological Niche Modeling: What Processes do Scientist Use? |

Ecological niche modeling is a method of using digitized species information, perhaps from collections, and making maps of a biological species’ potential distribution. Using technology allows scientists to use large data sets to get more accurate models as data is added. Ecological niche mapping is a means of showing speciation and biodiversity. Modeling thousands of species and piling distribution maps on top of each other allow scientists to get species richness data. In addition, scientists can compare current and future data models to make predictions on species distribution based on climate models or other ecological projects. It is important to note that ecological modeling looks only at the organism’s fundamental niche. Interactions with other organisms and other elements may not be considered. In this activity, students will simulate actual processes used by scientists to create ecological niche predictive models. This is a computer-based activity.

Grade: High School

Author: V. Ledford

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Ecological Niche Modeling for Hula Hoop Ecosystems

Ecological Niche Modeling for Hula Hoop Ecosystems |

Biodiversity is not limited to large scale ecosystems, scientists can measure species diversity in small areas. An organism serves roles in their ecosystems through and are indirectly connected to the abiotic and biotic materials/beings with the ecosystem. Phylogenetic trees help scientists predict the degree of relatedness between organisms and can help indicate relationships evolutionary relatedness or coevolution among organisms in similar environments. In this activity, students will use a hula hoop to mark a random area of land from which they will collect data to identify small scale biodiversity, species relatedness, and then map the locations of those organisms within the given area. Students will also produce a cladogram or phylogenetic tree to demonstrate how relatedness among the organisms.

Grade: High School

Author: L. Mabour

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Can We Predict Invasive Species

Can We Predict Invasive Species |

Invasive species can harm the environment, the economy, or even human health. How can an invasive species so easily take over? Can we predict invasive species? In this activity students will use QGIS and Maxent software to model niches and distributions of a chosen species in their native habitat. The model expresses a probability distribution where each grid cell has a predicted suitability of conditions for the species. Students will then analyze other regions using the same bioclimatic variables to determine if their chosen species could potentially inhabit the new region or become invasive.

Grade: High School

Author: E. Miller

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Branching Out: Using NCBI, BLAST, and MEGA to Construct a Phylogenetic Tree

Branching Out: Using NCBI, BLAST, and MEGA to Construct a Phylogenetic Tree |

In this lesson, there are two different levels available for students: a basic application (part 1) and a more difficult extension (part 2). In part 1, students will use a data set provided (FASTA formatted nucleotides) to BLAST in the NCBI database to find homologs (homologous organisms) to make a phylogenetic tree using blast. In part one, students may choose to do an extension where they find the common name and images of the organisms to add to the tree. In part 2, students will do an extension where they locate a different common gene and find the nucleotide sequence to BLAST and make a new phylogenetic tree.

Grade: High School

Author: J. Rankin and C. Reedy

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Understanding the Tree of Life: A Framework for Building Ecosystem Resilience

Understanding the Tree of Life: A Framework for Building Ecosystem Resilience |

This lesson plan explores biodiversity and its role in sustaining life on Earth. It begins by introducing students to the key concepts in ecology, biology, and environmental science at the root of speciation and natural selection, and leads them into engaging collaborative learning group activities on interdependence. Students will develop a conceptual understanding of this lesson by participating in a guided classroom discussion on TreeTender- a short film advocating eco-awareness and the significance of phylogenetic diversity and the environmental-societal factors threatening the health and balance of Earth’s system. This type of open dialogue and debate over these topics will allow students to construct and share their knowledge of what they believe is contributing to the current state of our planet, and our planet’s response to these conditions. To emphasize the importance of building ecosystem resilience, students will then move into an eco-survey of endangered species to demonstrate how human activity and the degradation of suitable habitats is interfering with the distribution and diversification of ecological communities.

Grade: Middle School

Author: M. Rivas-Reyes

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Using Computational Biology

Using Computational Biology  |

Students will have previously done an activity with Land use’s around their neighborhood and compare maps created by their peers prior to watching tree tender. Categories for land uses will be constructed by each group. Students will create a class mural on long sheet of paper and incorporated ecosystems services . Groups will be assembled per categories ex: parks and recreation, power and waste water treatment plants, how to deal with trash etc. visual representations on small pieces of papers and select areas to “place” their land use on the class mural. As each group attaches their specific land use members will explain the pros and cons of choosing specific sites. A lottery system will be devised so first come first serve. An extension of this will be to explore the term ecosystem services.

Grade: High School

Author: M. Torres

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Tree Tender

Biomes and Species Success in Ecosystems

Biomes and Species Success in Ecosystems |

Biomes are areas found throughout the earth that occupy distinct regions defined by climate, flora and fauna. They include ecosystems in marine, fresh water and terrestrial environments. The diversity of life varies by latitude around the globe, with greatest biodiversity being found nearest the equator. Many species found within Earth’s biomes are now threatened or endangered. According to ecologists, current extinction rates are at an all-time high. Habitat loss due to human impact is a major contributor. Your class will participate in a two-part activity. First, students will research world biomes, identify specific flora and fauna and determine where on the Earth they may be found. Research facts and photos will be organized to produce a poster. The second activity applies information gained from the biome research to determine which species of flora and fauna are most important to ecosystem survival. Through collaborative small-group discussion students will decide which species are most likely to become endangered or extinct and diagram the phylogenetic relationship between their example fauna. Students will apply a variety of learning strategies to complete these activities; research, poster-production, cooperative learning, polling, and small-group discussions. As a result of these activities, students will gain improved understanding of the elements of ecosystems within biomes and which example species are most important to sustain ecosystem function and success.

Grade: High School

Author: R. Allen

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Saving Biodiversity One PSA at a Time

Saving Biodiversity One PSA at a Time |

Students will create a public service announcement to promote awareness of a threatened or endangered animal. Background research will be conducted by the students to find information about the animal, including its population change, role in the environment, and plans for its survival.

Grade: High School

Author: R. Bartenslager

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Strategies for Dealing with Problems Caused by Over Fertilization

Strategies for Dealing with Problems Caused by Over Fertilization |

After having learned about the 4 major cycles (water, C, N, P) students will consider how fertilization affects the cycles. They will then visit UF’s SEEP (Stormwater Ecological Enhancement Project) and learn how the design helps reestablish the ecological function (service) of water filtration. Students will then have to explain how the SEEP works and its effect on the cycling of water, N and P; identify other ways of dealing with over fertilization; come up with a plan for mitigating/avoiding the problems associated with over fertilization.

Grade: High School

Author: B. Breil

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

We Are Family: Tree Tender Conservation Extension

We Are Family: Tree Tender Conservation Extension |

Throughout time, scientists have sought a way to link all organisms together via a common ancestor. The phylogenetic tree allows students to see the relationships organisms have with other organisms and how they are all interdependent. Students will come to understand how the extinction of a plant or animal, or any organism, can create a chain reaction and subsequently, have an impact on the future of many other organisms. Extinction of a species has been a normal progression of life. Today, however, humans are exponentially increasing the rate. Classes will participate in a 2-day learning activity. The first day all students will view the Tree Tender video. Students will be given one organism to research. They will list its characteristics and its classification. On day 2, students will work in groups of ~6, discuss the characteristics their organisms, and create a phylogenetic tree. After each group has completed this task, the class will work together creating a larger tree to include each group’s organisms. While the tree is under construction, the teacher will encourage a student-lead discussion asking how would extinction of a particular organism on the list effect the rest of the tree. The pedagogy used here is differentiated instruction through active learning and co-operative learning. Students will be looking at the possible real world implications extinction can have today and will experience experiential learning, inquiry-based learning, as well as engaging in open-ended discussion/learning which will allow them to explore real ways they can help our planet.

Grade: Middle School

Author: D. Carmack

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Go Extinction! Exploring the Tree of Life Extinction Simulation Presentations

Go Extinction! Exploring the Tree of Life Extinction Simulation Presentations |

Phylogenetic tree is used by scientists to look at similarities and relationships that exist between organisms. The phylogenetic tree is designed by looking at different characteristics of organisms throughout time. According to the tree tender film, all organisms are connected through the phylogenetic tree, though very distant at times. In any ecosystem for example coral reefs, as discussed in the film, organisms depend on each other for survival. If a species extinct, like dominos, many other species that may depend on it may extinct as well. Humans are a major player in the extinction event, the anthropocene extinction. My class will participate in an activity exploring how mass extinction can be reduced if not avoided at all. My students have already done ecological concepts like different traits of animals and plants and levels of classification. They have also grouped these traits of animals on a linear line to represent the tree of life. My class activity gives students an opportunity to collaborate with each other on changes they can make to save an ecosystem. The main pedagogy used here is differentiated instruction through active learning and cooperative learning. By looking at real –world issues, students will also experience Experiential Learning, Inquiry Learning, and Open – Ended Instruction, allowing them to explore real ways they can help our planet with their peers.

Grade: High School

Author: J. Chiomadzi

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

What the Biome?

What the Biome? |

The viewing of the Tree Tender movie could help spark an interest in the biomes of the planet by inciting the students to consider how all life on Earth is connected and how small changes, both good and bad can change how organisms interact within a biome.

Grade: High School

Author: K. Diaz

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Florida is the Model

Florida is the Model | Florida is the Model Presentation |

Is there any hope in a world with climate change, too many people, pollution and species extinctions? A drive around your town may reveal endless blacktop and development. However, a long drive through most parts of Florida reveals extensive areas of wildlands. Could it be that Florida, the third most populated state in the USA and the 8th most densely populated, may be a model for sustainable land use? This activity will present to students current land use trends and ask them to create a model map of a sustainable Florida.

Grade: Middle / High School

Author: L. Fisher

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Symbiosis in Stress Effects of Climate Change on Biomes & Symbiotic Relationships

Symbiosis in Stress Effects of Climate Change on Biomes & Symbiotic Relationship |

Biomes, ecosystems, and interspecific interactions are all key components to understanding ecology. Tragically, climate change is greatly impacting each of these three. In this lesson, students will utilize maps and models to determine the implications of continued climate change. From their investigations of current climate trends, they will predict the impact on interspecific interactions and present their findings to the class.

Grade: High School

Author: W. Furiosi

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Tree Tender Activity

Tree Tender Activity |

In the film, Tree Tender, the tree of life is explained. The Tree of Life demonstrates that all life, both extinct and extant, are all related by common ancestry. Relationships among different species are examined to show how life is dependent upon other species. Current problems with extinction are discussed using examples. Why the tree of life is important to us as well as all life is demonstrated. This activity is meant to get students thinking about the world around them and what is happening. This activity is meant to educate students the current status of life on Earth and promote optimism on our ability to find solutions for the future.

Grade: High School

Author: C. Goldenberg

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

How the Tree Works!

How the Tree Works! |

This activity is intended to follow the viewing of the film TreeTender. In particular, the video clip in the learning modules, shows how the Tree of Life can be used to determine the relationships between all organisms on life and reinforces the concept of a common ancestor to differing species. This activity provides students with the opportunity to test these concepts using internet based resources.

Grade: High School

Author: K. Kehoe

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Tree Tender Matching Game

Tree Tender Matching Game |

Ecology is the study of how organisms interact with each other and with their environments. This interaction is important to maintain a stable environment. Over the years humans have interfered with this interaction for various reasons resulting in very danger imbalance in our environment and creating a loss of biodiversity, depletion of natural resources and other problematic issues like climate change.
The film Tree Tender shows a variety of biological topics ranging from common ancestry to ecological symbiosis to destruction of our planet. Most importantly it includes ways in which we can try to make things better on our planet. These things include ways we can decrease our energy use, choosing environmentally friendly products and contacting local governments. The video encourages a better understanding of our planet which would result in decreasing extinct rates and increasing biodiversity.
In this activity, the students will play a matching game, matching the problem we’ve created on this planet to a potential solution. The students will watch the video, and after matching the problem with the solution, try and come up with another way to solve the real-world problem using personal experiences. The class will discuss some of the solutions they came up with during gameplay and display it on a poster board.
This activity will use Cooperative Learning, class discussion, and open-ended questioning to explain what is happening on our Earth and will try to come up with solutions to the problems.

Grade: High School

Author: M. Lawrence

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Thinking Hats: Differing Perspectives on "TreeTender" Video

TOL - Lawrence_TT_Tree Tender Matching Game |

In the film Tree Tender, Gaia learns about the importance of the Tree of Life to represent the ancestry and relationships between all life that ever existed. In better understanding these relationships, we can better assess where our attention must be directed to slow the loss of biodiversity caused by humans. Students will be provided with questions to complete individually which focus on a specific perspective that aligns with the “Thinking Hats” pedagogical strategy from DeBono (1985) and then process these questions using a Jigsaw strategy. Discussions will focus on ecological concepts like the Anthropocene Extinction and biodiversity loss, natural history, the use of the Tree of Life, and ecosystem services we rely on.

Grade: High School

Author: V. Ledford

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Tree Tender Social Media Campaign: #FloridaTreeTender

Tree Tender Social Media Campaign: #FloridaTreeTender |

 In the film Tree Tender, Gaia learns about the importance of the Tree of Life to represent the ancestry and relationship between all life that ever existed. In better understanding these relationships and the ecosystem services from which humans benefit and we can give hope to others to find solutions to our environmental issues and protect and improve biodiversity affected by human activity. Students will break into pairs to create a social media campaign to bring light to an environmental problem in Florida, create a solution, and develop a call to action. This uses pedagogy like, collaborative learning, case studies, integrated learning, peer teaching, and experiential learning to address a local environmental problem and propose solutions to that problem.

Grade: High School

Author: L. Marbour

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Becoming a School Tree Tender

Becoming a School Tree Tender |

The film Tree Tender helps us realize that small changes in our personal lives and households can lead to large impacts if we work together. By raising awareness of our negative impact on global biodiversity, we can develop solutions to slow extinction rates and improve habitat quality. In this activity, students will design an achievable project involving school-wide waste reduction or campus quality/biodiversity improvement. After research, budgeting, and design, groups will present their project idea to the class. The class will vote on the best-suited project for the campus. The project with the most votes will have the opportunity to present their idea to administration for implementation for the year.

Grade: High School

Author: E. Miller

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Bingo! I Got It!!

Bingo Ecological ServicesBingo! I Got It!! Cards |

This is a Bingo review activity. It allows students to relate real life examples to major ecological services provided by organisms found in the Tree of Life. The teacher will read/show examples of organisms that provided ecological services. Students will participate in a discussion of each example organism and match its major ecological service found on their bingo board. This activity can be used as a starting engagement piece or as a review after topics are covered.

Grade: High School

Author: Nakonecznyj

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Team Tree Tender, You Can Be The Change

Team Tree Tender, You Can Be The Change |

After viewing the short film Tree Tender the students are encouraged to find hope in our ever-changing world. This project will help them to reflect on their own personal impact and encourage them to find a solution to implement in their daily lives to lessen their impact on our ever-changing world. The students will be able to experience how easy it is to make one small change and see that they can make a difference together. Through this classroom project and journal reflection students will be able to see how simple some of the changes they can make really are and attempt to put these changes into action. Another valuable part of this project is examining how America has become a throw away society. The students will be able to get hands-on experience in reusing/repurposing items. Overall, this project can help the students see how easy it is to lessen our overall impact on the Earth by make a small change in their daily life.

Grade: High School

Author: T. Nick

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Rocks, Clocks, and Zombie Lineages: A Literacy Strategy Based Activity on the Tree of Life

Rocks, Clocks, and Zombie Lineages: A Literacy Strategy Based Activity on the Tree of Life |

This activity uses a recent popular-science article written for general audiences to discuss a specific example of evolutionary lineages. Using The Guardian article “The paleontology of rocks, clocks, and zombie lineages” by Elsa Panciroli, students will read an annotate a short article, then share and discuss the importance of evidence discussed in the article.

Grade: High School

Author: M. Paxson

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Tree Tender Conservation Warrior

Tree Tender Conservation Warrior |

After viewing the treetender video and responding to the questions, students will have a Harkness discussion about their answers to the questions. The students will then collaborate with a conservation resource to research a particular threatened organisms.

Grade: High School

Author: J. Rankin

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

Tree Tender Lesson

Tree Tender Lesson |

Students will use nucleotide to blast 2 genes found in plants. While we are studying the photosynthetic properties of Euglena and the Kingdom of Protists. Students will review the base pairing rules. Students will see the conversions and capabilities of the software to convert base pairs to nucleotides and then to proteins. Discussed will be the rbcl gene and natK.

Grade: High School

Author: M. Torres

Program: Tree of Life 2018

Activity: Tree Tenders

CATALySES 

CATALySES 2019

How Do You Get Sick? | By G. Agcaoli

Outbreak! Palm Beach, Florida | By S. Berlanga

We Are Back! A Lesson on Emerging Pathogens | By K. Bletsch

A Method to the Madness: Using the Scientific Method | By C. Calder

Intregated Science League of Justice Emerging Pathogens | By L. Daly

Measles in Black: Can Measles Wipe Your Immunity Memory  | By M. Gaskill

West Nile, Dengue, and Zika..Oh My! | By M. Hess Shamdasani

The Ebola Epidemic | By J. Jecusco

Analytical Chemical Techniques to DIScover Antibiotics for Resistant Microbes (ACT to DISARM) | By S. Karackattu

Where Are the Antibiotics in Plants | By K. MacGinnis

Come With Me if You Want to Live in Escaptist Approach to Expression of Resistance in E. Coli | By J. Malone

Busy Beetles | By P. Miller

Build Me a Killer | By C. Mulhern

An Exploration of Emerging Pathogens | By K. Murphey 

Forensic Microbiology in the 21st Century  | By E. Ortiz

You Are What You Eat, Unless What You Eat Kills You | By J. Rivera-Azua

Any Last Advice, Don't Die | By B. Vincent

CATALySES 2018

Conceptualizing the Virus | By S. Banas

Plants Get Sick Too - Fungi! | By A. Brown

Developing Critical Thinking Skills in Lower Level High School Biology Students | By P. Campbell

ESE Center Based Populations - Benefits of Providing Hands-on Lab Experiences | By J. Cunningham

Read Your Way Through It! | By R. Gaines

I'm Dengue with the Florida Keys | By J. Gregory

Immune Defense's Impact on Student's Vocabulary Knowledge in Diverse Biology Classrooms  | By K. Grillo

How Utilizing Team Based Learning Encourage Student's to Utilize Study Habits and Improve the Test Scores of Student's Who Have Been Taught About the Spread of the Different Types of Bacteria at Their School | By Z. Hanley

Using Emerging Pathogens as a Vector for Increasing Positive Attitudes Towards Science Learning & STEM Career Choices in Middle School Students | By T. Iansiti

Hands-on Lab Experiences for All Levels of High School Students | By T. Johnson

An Investigation of the Effects of Intregating Team-Based Learning in the Honors Biology Evolution Unit on Student Achievement  | By P. Kelly

Impact of Team-Based Learning on Concept Mastery and Student Confidence in a High School AP Biology Class | By V. Ledford

The Effect of Team-Based Learning (TBL) on Learning Acquisition During a Lesson about Ebola Virus as an Emergent Pathogen | By H. Maysonet

A Study Investigating the Effect of Hands-on Biotechnology Activities and Technology-Based Emerging Pathogens Activities on Student Mastery of the Pathology/Immunology Unit in a Regular Level Biology Course | By C. McHugh-Lowther

Using a Online Databases to Understand Proteins, DNA, and Phylogenetic Relationships Among Pathogenic Organisms | By M. Nelson

Teaching and learning of Spectometry Concepts in Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry | By K. Orr

Hospitals Have Microbiomes Too! | By A. Paulk

The Impact of Labratory Visits on Biology Students' Achievement and Attitudes Towards Science  | By K. Prada

Team-Based Learning for Experimental Design and Statistical Inference | By C. Seleski

Using Team Based Learning to Teach Human Immune Function and its Impacts on Public Health | By S. Seleski

Photosynthesis and Productivity in Mediterranean Crops  | By V. Steele

Heredity and Malaria: Using the Relationships Between Malaria and Sickle Cell to Increase Student Understanding pf Heredity  | By M. Thomas-King

CATALySES 2017

Getting to Know Our Neighbors: The Oral Microbes | By A. Akinyode

An Invitation for Change: Empowering Undeserved Populations Through Citizen Science that Culls the Spread of Emerging Pathogens Through Blended Learning | By S. Barnes

The Impact of Teaching Plants Through a Disease Module on Student Engagement, Student Attitude, and Learning Gains | By K. Bolden

Using Emerging Pathogens as a Vector for Teaching Project-Based Storyline Learning to 9th Grade Biology I Students | By C. Brink

What's in the Water | By S. Chabot

Engaging Students Below Grade Level in High School Biology | By N. Clark

The Effects of Integrating Emerging Pathogens Inquiry Based Case Study & Inquiry Based Laboratory Activity on the Interest and Performance of 10th, 11th, and 12th Grade Students in Anatomy & Physiology Classes | By C. Druyff

Teaching Biology Standards Through Disease Modules Focus Standard: Macromolecules & Vector Borne Disease | By E. Emery

Effects of an Emerging Pathogen-Centered Lesson on Student Engagement and Perceived Lesson Effectiveness in the Advanced Placement Biology Classroom | By W. Furiosi

A Study of the Impact of Reading Skills and Strategies on Achievement in a High School Biology Course | By S. Hendrix 

Disease-ology: Transforming the Teaching of Biology Using a Disease Model: Evolution | By J. Higginbotham

Ewww, A Mouthful of Microbes! | By A. Krause

CAT2017_Saravia-Eternally Yours Using Antibiotic Resistance Experiments to  | By F. Saravia

Water is Life.... Teaching Biology Through A Disease Model and Human Impact | By C. Vaughn

Breeding Scientific Understanding and Ideas Through Change! | By S. Wilkie