07 February 2011

Natural Resources

Up next in my sharefest of old resources, are two taxonomy and natural selection items---one tried and true, the other has been on my "always wanted to try it" list.

Computer Punch Card by Focht CC-BY-NC-ND

  • I have long loved Punch Card Classification (3.5MB; pdf). If you aren't an old fart like me, you probably don't know what a punch card is. (Now get off my lawn!!) These cards---like the one pictured above---were how digital information used to be stored. And when I was a little girl, back in the Dark Ages, I used to play with these when my dad brought the spares home from work. The activities described in the attachment use index cards, so you don't need to worry about finding fossil punch cards to work with. The handout comes from Dr. John B. Beaver and Dr. Don Powers and was presented at the 1994 NSTA conference. It is a great hands-on way to teach dichotomous keys to all ages of students.
  • Cranial Conjectures (4MB; pdf) was presented by Joyce Gleason also at the 1994 NSTA conference. In this unit, students are provided with an animal skull. Using the skull, they make predictions about the kind of animal it belongs to, as well as the environment it would live in. It's a great inquiry into natural selection and I would have loved to have done it---I just never had access to enough skulls.

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