Our Chordate Family Tree

Students explore the evolution of the phylum Chordata by constructing a "family tree" -- a diagram of evolutionary traits and animals.First, they use cards showing traits to create a diagram of evolutionary relationships. Then they watch a Shape of Life video to observe Chordates and their distinguishing traits. The teacher facilitates discussion and then they revise their diagrams and add information, including examples of modern animals that exhibit the traits. Many possible adaptations and extensions are listed at the end of the lesson to help engage all students.


- Students will create evolutionary family trees

- Students will understand and discuss key characteristics of chordate species orally and in writing

- Students will explain how common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence

Lesson Plan: