Human Language: A Non-homologous Feature in Humans

Nicole Nunley Nesbitt, Eighth Grade, Road Middle School

Final Unit(pdf)   Implementing Teaching Standards(pdf)

Synopsis:  The theory of evolution can be supported in many ways. Eighth grade science curriculum focuses on biological evidence of the structures of organisms to determine whether or not those organisms share a common ancestor. As students draw conclusions about the role of evolution in the relationship between humans and other living organisms, it is important that they begin to think more critically about the evolutionary path of humans.  Biological evidence proves that all organisms share a common ancestor; however, humans have a special ability that sets them apart from other organisms, that truly puts them at the top of the evolutionary tree. All organisms communicate in some form but humans on the other hand use a very systematic approach in how our species communicates called language, something that no other known organism does. In this curriculum unit students will explore the relationship between humans’ ability to communicate and their evolutionary journey over five lessons. These lessons will allow students to deepen their understanding of how humans share common ancestry with other organisms and how the ability to communicate sets them apart.