Navigating among animals and plants – educational activities on construction and reading of evolutionary trees

Klára Koupilová


volume: 29
year: 2020
issue: 1
fulltext: PDF
elektronická příloha

online publishing date: 30/3/2020
DOI: 10.14712/25337556.2020.1.2
ISSN (Online): 2533-7556

Licence Creative Commons
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Evolutionary trees are among the most useful tools in biology, therefore, students should be taught how to correctly interpret them. Using tree-like diagrams to depict relationships among organisms is easily understandable, but students often struggle with interpretations of particular graphical forms of trees. Based on my literature review of the most commons problems, I prepared a series of educational activities for Czech upper secondary school students. The series introduces basic principles of construction and interpretation of evolutionary trees and also addresses common mistakes. To prepare the educational series, I reviewed practical activities focused on evolution that have already been published, but that are designed for older students (usually for biology majors) and written in English. Therefore, I adapted and simplified suitable activities for my target group of students. Specifically, I prepared several practical activities and included them in an educational series of 4 × 45 minutes. If needed, most of the activities can also be used separately or the series can be reduced to its first half. The activities are designed with an emphasis on the active role of students who will work with different sources of information, try to construct their own evolutionary trees and interpret existing ones. I tested the series at an upper secondary school and it proved to be easily applicable, effective and appealing, based on feedback from the students.


evolutionary tree, cladogram, evolution, classification, upper secondary school

fulltext (PDF )



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