This interactive module allows students to compare the morphological characteristics of seashells and construct an evolutionary tree.
Taxonomy is a discipline in science concerned with grouping species by common traits. In this Click & Learn, students explore some of the principles of taxonomy by grouping seashells based on their shapes, structures, and other characteristics.
Students examine photos of 20 different shells. Clicking on each image opens a short description and 3D view where the shell can rotated and magnified. By deciding which shells are more similar to one another, students gradually build a phylogenetic tree of seashell species.
The accompanying “Student Worksheet” guides students’ exploration and begins with a hands-on card activity that can be used before the Click & Learn. The “Educator Materials” includes background information and implementation suggestions. The “Shell Cards” documents are for the card activity and correspond to different printing options (color or black-and-white; single-sided or double-sided printing).
Student Learning Targets
- Group organisms based on shared characteristics, then use details about organisms’ morphologies to propose how they are evolutionarily related.
- Interpret simple phylogenetic trees.
- Use phylogenetic trees to compare hypotheses about evolutionary relationships among groups of organisms.
- Explain how morphological information can be used to study evolutionary relationships.
bivalve, cladogram, classification, cone snail, gastropod, marine biology, mollusc, outgroup, scallop, sister group, taxonomy
HS-LS4-1; SEP2, SEP6
AP Biology (2019)
EVO-1.M, EVO-1.N, EVO-3.B, EVO-3.C; SP1, SP2, SP4, SP6
IB Biology (2016)
5.1, 5.4, B.5
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-2.H, SP2
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Vision and Change (2009)
CC1; DP1, DP3