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What is a Species?

Kit #545S
What is a Species?

Students learn about the biological species concept in defining species and how it provides information about where new species are in the process of separation from closely related species. Student groups then investigate case studies to explore the factors that lead to reproductive isolation of species.

Details at a Glance

  • 1-2 Days | 1-2 ~50 minute class periods
  • 2 Activities
  • Accommodates unlimited classes, each with 8 groups of 4 students
  • Meets our criteria for supporting literacy
  • All materials are non-consumable
  • Developed in partnership with SEPUP

Scientific Concepts

  • Species evolve over time. The millions of species that live on the earth today are related by descent from common ancestors. 
  • Taxa are classified in a hierarchy of groups and subgroups based on genealogical relationships.
  • The broad patterns of behavior exhibited by animals have evolved by natural selection as a result of reproductive success. 
  • Scientists have found that the original definition of species as groups of organisms with similar morphology does not reflect underlying evolutionary processes.
  • The biological species concept defines a species as a population of individuals that actually or can potentially interbreed in nature to produce fertile offspring.
  • Scientific explanations must adhere to criteria such as the application of appropriate evidence, consistently logical reasoning, and basis in accepted historical and current scientific knowledge.
  • Students engage in and communicate a scientific argument. 
  • Key Vocabulary: biological species, biological species concept, evidence, gene flow, gene pool, population, species

Guides & Student Sheets

Our kits and modules provide you with everything you need so you can open, review, and teach the material confidently the next day.

  • Full downloadable Teacher Guide with background information, detailed instruction, example data and answers
  • Downloadable Student Sheets with age appropriate background information, full procedure(s), and analysis questions
  • All materials necessary to carry out the investigation
  • Safety Data Sheets

Kit Components

  • 8 sets of 14 Species Pairs Cards
  • 8 sets of 8 Reproductive Barrier Cards
  • 32 Student Worksheet and Guides
  • 1 Teacher’s Guide