Lesson Plan : Animal Hybridization

Teacher Name:
 Brady Janes
 Grade 9-10

  Exploring animal hybridization.
  Vocabulary: renown, theorized, hybrid, colonized, alpine, isolated, reproductively, status, affinity, genome, mosaic, genetic, indicate, offspring, sterile, thrive, molecular, subspecies, disputed, indigenous, abundant, captive, continuum, absorbed, dynamic
 In this lesson students will examine the possibilities of animal hybridization by creating profiles of possible animal hybrids.
 Students will: 1. Use their imaginations to create fantasy hybrid animals made complete by detailed descriptions. 2. Explore animal hybridization by reading and discussing “Scientists May Have Discovered Those Nabokov Baby Blues.” 3. Examine the different aspects of animal hybridization by creating profiles of possible animal hybrids.
 -pens/pencils -student journals -paper -classroom board -copies of “Scientists May Have Found Those Nabokov Baby Blues” (one per student)
 Students respond to the following prompt (written on the board prior to class): “If you could create a hybrid of any two animals, which two would they be and why? What characteristics of each of the parent animals would your hybrid have? What would you name this animal?” Once everyone has had a chance to finish writing, have students share their responses. Which animals have characteristics that students find particularly desirable, and why? What would the world be like if certain characteristics (like wings or opposable thumbs) were more commonplace?
  As a class, read and discuss “Scientists May Have Found Those Nabokov Baby Blues,” focusing on the following questions: a. How has recent research upheld the theories of Nabokov? b. In what ways have the Alpine blues met the necessities of separate species status? c. What does the author mean when he says “The Alpine blue genome represents a mosaic of the parent species?” d. In what ways can a new species become “reproductively isolated” from parent species? e. What does Dr. Loren Rieseberg mean when he says that “there’s not a whole lot of purity out there?” f. What is at the heart of the disagreement about the red wolf? g. What does Daniel J. Fust mean when he says “the transfer of genes between species is a continuum?” h. Why does the news about hybridization make evolution more complicated than previously thought? i. What issues, discussed in the article, are new to scientists?
 Show the class photographs of hybrid animals already in existence. Next, divide the class into small groups and inform them that they will each be creating a profile of a potential hybrid. If you wish, you can frame the activity as a grant-writing project. Tell students that a bio-engineering company is looking for ideas for a new hybrid animal and is accepting suggestions for an upcoming project. Students should use all classroom resources available to research data needed to create their animal hybrid profiles. Each group should develop a concept for a hybrid animal by deciding on the parent animals. The first task will be to look up the classification of the parent animals to see if the hybrid selected will be an interspecific hybrid (with parents in the same genus), an intraspecific hybrid (with parents in different sub-species, but the same species), or an intergeneric hybrid (with parents of different genera). Inform students that the hybrid chosen must be able to fit into one of these categories or another will have to take its place. Students can look for the classifications of their potential parent animals online or in classroom textbooks. The next task will be for each group to create a classification for their respective hybrids by exploring the classifications of the parent animals. The last task will be for groups to describe the characteristics (size, color, intelligence, etc…), habitats, and predators and prey of their hybrid animals. For each characteristic, students will need to identify which parent animal contributed which trait. Descriptions should include how each hybrid will be unique from other animals, and what skills it will have in order to survive in its environment. To review, groups will need to complete the following for their profiles: a. Which are the parent animals? b. What type of hybrid (interspecific, intraspecific, intergeneric) will your hybrid be? c. What will the classification of your hybrid be? d. What characteristics, habitat, predators and prey will your hybrid have? What skills will it have in order to survive in its environment?
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