Exploring the Tree of Life

Exploring the Tree of Life: Monday, July 13 – Friday, July 17, 2015 

The Tree of Life provides an excellent backdrop and informative model for many of the complex and interrelated topics in the secondary science classroom. This workshop highlights some of the most significant research at the University of Florida, using classroom-appropriate activities and authentic experiments to introduce the processes, findings, and applications in areas such as biotechnology, biodiversity, genetics, evolution, and ecology. Teachers will examine life processes from the molecular level to whole systems of both living and extinct taxa using varied techniques such as biotechnology, field studies, and approaches in evolutionary biology that complement the State and National Science Standards, FCAT, and Florida Biology End of Course exam. We will use research methods and equipment, as well as activities and experiments, appropriate for middle and high school classrooms.

Monday, July 13

Breakfast provided
Lunch on own
Dinner on own 


All day – Health Science Center Communicore Room MDL1D



8:30am: Health Science Center Communicore Room MDL1D

Welcome and overview of the week

  • Dr. Mary Jo Koroly, Associate Research Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Director, UF CPET

Presentation: Phylogenetics and the Open Tree of Life

  • Dr. Doug Soltis, Distinguished Professor of Botany, Department of Biology

Activity: The Great Clade Race

12:00-1:00pm: Lunch on own

1:00pm-5:00pm: HSC MDL1D

Activity: Tree of Life

Presentation: Going Ape! Florida’s Battles over Evolution in the Classroom

Station rotations: Go Extinct!, What did T. rex taste like?


Tuesday, July 14
8am-5pm; 7-9pm

Breakfast on own
Lunch on own
Dinner on own 


Morning – Thomas Farm

Afternoon – Health Science Center Communicore Room MDL1D

Evening – Keys Library

8:00am – 12pm Fossil dig at Thomas Farm

12:00-1:00pm: Lunch on own.

1pm – 5:00pm: MDL1D

Activity: Geological time scale

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

  • Ms. Jennifer Broo, Saint Ursula Academy
  • Ms. Jessica Mahoney, Edgewater High School
  •  Mr. Sean Moran, Florida Museum of Natural History

7:00pm-9:00pm: Come to the Keys Library to make your Lesson 3 poster

Wednesday, July 15

Breakfast on own
Lunch on own
Dinner on own 


All day – Health Science Center Communicore Room CG-056 (MDL1D)


9:00am-12:00pm: HSC MDL1D

Horse evolution Lesson 3 Gallery walk and presentationsHorse evolution Q & A

  • Dr. Bruce MacFadden, Distinguished Professor and Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, Florida Museum of Natural History

Tour of the vertebrate paleontology collection, FLMNH Dickinson Hall

12:00-1:00pm: Lunch on own.

1:00-5:00pm: HSC MDL1D

Presentation: Primate Biomechanics

Activity: Hands on Human Evolution: A Laboratory Based Approach

  • Ms. Maggie Hernandez, UF graduate in Biology and Anthropology


Homework: Work on action plan and lesson plan

Thursday, July 16

Breakfast on own
Lunch provided
Dinner on own 

Location: (drive self/car pool)

Morning – Entomology Building

Afternoon –Fifield, FLMNH


9:00am-11:45am Room 2218, Entomology and Nematology Building

Interactive presentation: Insect Diversity

  • Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator, Department of Entomology

12:00pm-12:45pm Lunch provided.

1-2pm: Room 2316 Fifield Hall

Presentation: Plant Pathogens and the Evolution of Virulence

2:30-5:00pm: Florida Museum of Natural History, Powell Hall


Homework: Work on action plan and lesson plan

Friday, July 17

Breakfast provided
Lunch provided

Location:All day – Keys

9:00am – 1:00pm: Keys Library

9am-10am: Tree building activity – 3D mobile trees

10am-11am: Program wrap-up (evaluations, post-test, group photo)

11am-1pm Action plan/lesson presentations


Grab lunch for the road, have safe trip home, and a great school year!