Extreme Arthropods: Exploring Evolutionary Adaptations to Polar and Temperate Desertsby: Luke Sandro, Juanita M. Constible, and Richard E. Lee, Jr.

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In this activity, Namib and Antarctic arthropods are used to illustrate several important biological principles. Among these are the key ideas that form follows function and that the environment drives evolution. In addition, students will discover that the climates of the Namib Desert and the Antarctic Peninsula are similar in several ways, and that these arthropods have evolved some analogous adaptations. This investigation is a good introduction to the phylum Arthropoda, the most successful group of animals on Earth, and spotlights the group’s ability to occupy some of the most challenging niches on the planet (National Science Content C—Life Science; NRC 1996).

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Reviews (3)
  • on Mon Apr 11, 2016 9:42 AM

This article gives great a great activity for students to create their own arthropod and ensure it can survive in extreme habitats. This is has so much more rigor than others I've seen. It's also great for the older middle school students. Having them do this will engage them and really get them thinking. This also has all the teacher materials ready to use and implement. There isn't a lot of outside prep needed.

Jennifer Basalari
Jennifer Basalari

  • on Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:20 PM

I appreciate all the student and teacher copies of key worksheets and guides included in this article. The instructions on how to implement this lesson in the classroom are thorough and well presented. My only concern would be the lack of prior knowledge my students would have on arthropods. This lesson would require an introductory lesson or review lesson on arthropods for my students to more fully engage in the activities. However, even in consideration of these limitations, the extra work to introduce/review arthropods prior to beginning would be a plus as it would allow my students to make connections between science content areas. I look forward to implementing this lesson plan idea in my classroom.

Susanne Hokkanen  (Orland Park, IL)
Susanne Hokkanen (Orland Park, IL)

  • on Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:49 AM

This is a very interesting article for middle school students that challenge the students to create an arthropod for either a sandy desert or the cold desert. Students are given the characteristics of each environment and must pick adaptations for those particular extremes. All aspects of the lesson are presented so that a teacher can easily implement this lesson. This is a great start for an understanding of the “key ideas that form follows function and that the environment drives evolution.”

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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