Assessment Items from the Biodiversity Small Group

We identified three learning objectives to help students understand organismal phylogenies:

1) how to interpret phylogenies
Summative 1: Which one of these topologies is different than the others? (provide differently drawn topologies as diagrams, rotating nodes, switching taxa)
Summative 2: Looking at this tree, to whom is species X most closely related?
Formative 1: Draw a topology from this parenthetical notation of a tree in groups, have groups compare their results.
Formative 2: The Great Clade Race physical activity for tree construction.

2) the concept that phylogenies are hypotheses and can change depending on the data
Summative 1A: What were the early notions of how Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukaryotes were related?
Summative 1B: What happened to change our minds, the sorts of data that were collected
Summative 1C: What does the tree look like now?
Formative 1: Draw phylogenies (say of Plant, Animals, Fungi, Protists) based on different datasets through time.

3) the concept that phylogenies are useful tools in biology
Summative 1A: Given this phylogeny with many clades and noted synapomorphies, which group is best bioprospected for X trait given limited time and money?
Summative 1B: How do you prioritize the next stages of phylogenetic research (which should prompt the explanation that more data or more taxa need to be sampled).
Formative 1: Create a phylogeny based on HIV sequences to understand forensic history of a crime.
Formative 2: Have groups discuss real world case examples of phylogenies uses and present their findings to the class.