OpenSciEd®: Biology 5: Common Ancestry & Speciation 1-Class Unit Kit


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Biology. In Biology 5: Common Ancestry & Speciation, Carolina Certified Version*, students work to answer the Unit Driving Question: "What will happen to Artic bear populations as their environment changes?"

This unit is anchored by the unusual sightings of polar, brown, and black bears in Wapusk National Park. Students investigate why scientists find this so unusual and consider what this means for the future of the bears as the Arctic warms. Lesson Set 1 (Lessons 1-5) focuses on figuring out how and why the Arctic bears interact in particular ways. Students figure out how past relationships between the species and conditions on Earth over geologic time can help them predict the future. In Lesson Set 2 (Lessons 6-9), students unravel the speed at which extinction and speciation events occurred in the past compared with changes that bears living in the modern-day Arctic experience. They figure out that hybridization is a possibility for Arctic bears. Students then investigate ways that humans have helped protect other species from extinction and debate what role humans should play in protecting Arctic bears and other species in danger of extinction. The unit culminates with a Transfer Task, during which students apply all of their understanding to figure out why the bumble bee is threatened with extinction and to evaluate claims about ways to prevent its extinction.

Throughout this unit, students:

  • Develop and revise models to explain and predict the interactions of Arctic bear populations with their environment.
  • Construct and evaluate arguments using evidence.
  • Evaluate competing solutions to prevent extinction.
  • Find patterns in data at different scales that affect the survival of Arctic bears as the climate changes.
  • Develop and revise models about the effect of climate change on the long-term survival of Arctic bear populations.
  • Make, defend, and evaluate claims about the relationship between thermoregulation and bear behavior.
  • Infer mechanisms of bear speciation at scales that cannot be studied directly.v
  • Construct and revise arguments about how brown and polar bears split from a common ancestor.
  • Construct and revise arguments about the causes of mass extinction events on Earth.
  • Integrate and evaluate information from multiple sources about ways to prevent the extinction of particular species.
  • Evaluate possible solutions for protecting polar bears from extinction.

This 1-Class Unit Kit comes with basic teacher access to instructional materials on, plus the materials needed for a teacher to teach 1 class of 32 students per day.

Building Toward NGSS Performance Expectations (PEs)

  • HS-LS1-3: Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that feedback mechanisms maintain homeostasis.
  • HS-LS2-6**: Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
  • HS-LS2-7**: Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • HS-LS4-1: Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.
  • HS-LS4-2**: Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment.
  • HS-LS4-4**: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.
  • HS-LS4-5**: Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
  • HS-ESS2-7†: Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth's systems and life on Earth.

**This performance expectation is developed across multiple OpenSciEd biology units.
†This performance expectation is developed across multiple OpenSciEd courses.

Focal Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs)

  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Focal Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs)

  • LS1.A: From Molecules to Organisms: Structure and Function
  • LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
  • LS4.A: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity
  • LS4.C: Adaptation
  • LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans
  • ESS2.E: Earth's Systems
  • ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions

Focal Crosscutting Concepts

  • Patterns
  • Scale, Proportion, and Quantity

*All enhancements to materials and instruction for this Carolina Certified Version of the unit are approved by OpenSciEd to preserve the integrity of the storyline and the instructional model.


What’s Included:
  •  Unit Technology Pack (basic digital access to teacher's guide and all instructional resources for the teacher)
  •  Bags, Plastic, Resealable, 9 x 12"
  •  Bags, Resealable, Plastic, 6 x 9"
  •  Batteries, Alkaline, AAA
  •  Bear Adaptation Posters
  •  Bear Trait Chips
  •  Bear Trait Keys
  •  Black Bear Claws (replicas)
  •  Card Sets, Bear Station
  •  Card Sets, Mass Extinction Inquiry
  •  Card Sets, Matter and Energy
  •  Card Sets, Observation Quote
  •  Counter Chips, Brown, 1"
  •  Counter Chips, White, 1"
  •  Grizzly Bear Claws (replicas)
  •  Note Pads, Self-Adhesive, 1-1/2 x 2"
  •  Note Pads, Self-Adhesive, Yellow, 3 x 3"
  •  Polar Bear Claws (replicas)
  •  Putty, Adhesive, 2 oz
  •  Sets, Bear Speciation Map
  •  Thermometers, Infrared (without batteries)
  •  Top-Loading Sheet Protectors
Return Policy:

If for any reason you are not satisfied with this item, it is eligible for a return, exchange, refund, or credit up to 180 days from date of purchase. Restrictions may apply. Returns & Exchanges Policy.