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STC-Middle School™, STC3 Edition: What Evidence Suggests Similarities Among Organisms? Module Kit

(in stock)


Grades 6–8. Unit Driving Question—Where did whales come from? Module Highlight—Using their research about the ancestors of whales and their analysis of the fossil record, students make an evidence-based claim to explain how present-day whales evolved.

This module kit comes with a teacher edition, reusable soft cover student guides (item #512723), and teacher and student access to Carolinascienceonline.com.

Next Generation Science Standards*
Performance Expectations

  • MS-LS4-1. Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
  • MS-LS4-2. Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.
  • MS-LS4-3. Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the fully formed anatomy.
  • MS-ESS1-4. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old history.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
  • LS4.A: Evidence of common ancestry and diversity
  • ESS1.C: The history of planet Earth
Science and Engineering Practices
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Crosscutting Concepts
  • Patterns
  • Scale, proportion, and quantity

CONNECTIONS English Language Arts

  • RST.6-8.1 Key ideas and details
  • RST.6-8.2 Key ideas and details
  • RST.6-8.3 Key ideas and details
  • RST.6-8.4 Craft and structure
  • RST.6-8.7 Integration of knowledge and ideas
  • RST.6-8.8 Integration of knowledge and ideas
  • RST.6-8.9 Integration of knowledge and ideas
  • SL.8.1 Comprehension and collaboration
  • SL.8.2 Comprehension and collaboration
  • SL.8.3 Comprehension and collaboration
  • SL.8.4 Presentation of knowledge and ideas


  • MP6 Attend to precision

Investigation Summaries
Investigation 1: Analyzing Animal Embryos

Students use a digital resource to analyze and interpret images of animal embryos at different stages of development. During their analysis, students identify patterns of similarities in the development of different animal species. These similarities enable students to begin collecting evidence of common ancestry among some of these animals.
Investigation 2: Exploring Patterns in Bones
Students analyze and color-code bones in various tetrapod animals, observing patterns of similarities that may suggest additional evidence of common ancestry. Students use evidence from their investigation to make a claim about whether a whale’s forelimb is more similar to a shark’s pectoral fin or to a human’s forelimb.
Investigation 3: Analyzing Evolutionary Relationships
Students use a digital resource to arrange animals in a cladogram to represent potential evolutionary relationships based on anatomical similarities and differences. Students use evidence from their investigation to construct an evidence-based explanation to describe how anatomical similarities and differences help scientists determine evolutionary relationships between both modern and extinct organisms.
Investigation 4: Analyzing the Fossil Record
Students investigate rock strata and construct a model as a class to begin to determine how strata can be used to organize Earth’s history. Students analyze and interpret information from rock strata in a digital resource to identify various mystery fossils and determine their relative ages.
Investigation 5: Radioactive Dating Game
Students use a computer simulation to model radiometric dating and how it can be used to organize Earth’s history. Students develop an evidence-based claim to explain whether the analysis and interpretation of rock strata using various dating methods is a useful way to organize and explain Earth’s history.
Investigation 6: Exploring Earth’s History
Students obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about important biological events that occurred during Earth’s history. Students research the absolute dates associated with each event and create a model of the geologic time scale that presents those events in a chronological time line. Students analyze their time lines to determine how the diversity and complexity of life on Earth has changed over time.
Investigation 7: Researching Whale Ancestry
Students obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about whale ancestry in the fossil record. Students use their research, along with evidence collected during previous investigations, to construct an explanation about how present-day whales evolved. Students present their research and claims to the class.

*Next Generation Science Standards® is a registered trademark of WestEd. Neither WestEd nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.


What’s Included:
  • 1 Teacher’s Edition
  • 16 Student Guides
  • 1 Unit Technology Pack (includes digital access to teacher edition and digital student access to student guide)
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.