Tree of Life Web Project
Students can explore the branches and leaves of the Tree of Life Web Project to discover how all life is related. The goal of the project is to have a page with pictures, text, and other information for every species and for each group of organisms, living or extinct. Connections between organism webpages follow phylogenetic branching patterns between groups, so that visitors can learn about evolutionary relationships among species. For an explanation of phylogeny, see “What is Phylogeny?.”
Images, Movies, Sounds
Images, movies, and sounds are found among the branches of the tree of life and identified by distinctive icons in the right menu bar. For example, a six minute video excerpted from the BBC’s Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life and narrated by David Attenbourough introduces the concept of the tree of life. The right side bar also includes links to articles and related groups.
Educational resources designed for all grades are found in more than 200 Treehouses perched in the branches of the Tree of Life. Treehouses feature investigations, stories, fun & games, art & culture, web quests, portfolios, and teacher resources.
- An art and culture activity has students build Black Widow Spider Mobiles to learn about where the Black Widow lives, what it eats, and how it interacts with other spiders.
- A webquest on phylogeography, Why are we here and how did we get here, combines science and geography when students investigate relationships among living things and their location on Earth.
- One lesson combines art and science in the construction of 3-D models of the Tree of Life.
More advanced biology students can produce variations of the tree of life using iTOL: Interactive Tree of Life. iTOL is an online tool for the display and manipulation of phylogenetic trees. It offers a novel circular layout that can display trees with several thousand leaves. Trees can be produced in several graphical formats.