Introduction to Learning with the ToL

Kathryn Orzech and Lisa Schwartz

Learning Information

  • ToL Learner Level:
    • Intermediate; Advanced
  • Target Grade/Age Level:
    • All Grade/Age levels.
    • Can be modified for many age/grade levels
  • Learning Objective(s). Learners will:
    • Learn about who contributes to the ToL, what types of pages they create and the kind of information they share;
    • Learn about how to use the Tree of Life to find and create information.;
    • Learn about the structure of the Tree of Life, and how it reflects the genetic relationships among organsism (phylogeny)
  • Type of Activity
    • Classroom resource; Web-based resource
  • Science Subject / Key Words
    • Evolution;
    • Phylogenetics;
    • Taxonomy;
    • Biodiversity;
    • Morphology & Anatomy;
    • Life History & Development
  • Suggested Time Frame
    • 45-60 minutes
  • Sequence and Context
    • This treehouse introduces the Tree of Life website and could be part of an extended project that would culminate with learners publishing a treehouse on the Tree of Life website.
  • Curricular Areas:
    • Technology
  • Language:
    • English
  • Teaching and Learning Strategy:
    • Inquiry Learning;
    • Role-Playing;
    • Technology Integration/Computer Assisted Instruction

Teacher Tips

Assign team roles depending on the number of students per group.

If you want to pair students, we recommend that you have the team play a core scientific contributor and a treehouse builder. This two person team should decide on a treehouse for the treehouse builder to present, and then choose one of the branch or leaf pages that the treehouse is attached to for the "core scientific contributor" to present.

We recommend that you use the PDF documents available to download and print on the Task and Process pages, to hand out to students so that they have a hard copy of what they need to do while they are paricipating in the WebQuest.

Depending on time you may want to skip a lot of the additional information that students could present at the "conference" and focus on the presentation of the treehouse, branch and leaf pages.

About This Page

University of Arizona

Lisa Schwartz
University of Arizona

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Kathryn Orzech at and Lisa Schwartz at

All Rights Reserved.

 Treehouses are authored by students, teachers, science enthusiasts, or professional scientists. Anyone can sign up as a treehouse contributor and share their knowledge and enthusiasm about organisms. Treehouse contributions are checked for general accuracy and quality by teachers and ToL editors, but they are not usually reviewed by expert scientists. If you spot an error, please get in touch with the author or the teacher. For more information about quality control of Tree of Life content, see Status of Tree of Life Pages.

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