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The Deduction of Allen's Rule in Science Teaching

Publication at Faculty of Education |


Allen's rule is besides Bergmann's rule one of the topics connecting zoology and ecology in science teaching. It states that warm-blooded animals living in cold climates have shorter limbs and body appendages than similar animals living in warm climates.

The paper presents teaching activity with high motivational potential based on work with known and attractive animal species (specially with foxes Vulpes zerda, Vuples vulpes, Alopex lagopus; bears Ursus maritimus, Ursus arctos and hares Lepus europeanus and Lepus arcticus) and information and communication technologies (ICT). It's proposed as an open inquiry task during which pupils search and sort information, formulate and verify hypotheses and explain results.

The activity is supported by a working sheet and pictures of animals available in the appendix. Testing in schools showed that the tasks were proportionate to pupils' abilities at lower secondary level.

The most common difficulties that occurred during testing (formulation of hypotheses, time required to activity, the need for continuous monitoring by a teacher) and modifications for use at upper secondary school (increasing the part of individual pupils' work, leaving the choice of species to verify the hypothesis to the pupils, working with species for which the rule doesn't apply) are discussed. Pupils can realize during this activity that scientific work doesn't just mean "to be in a laboratory" but it primarily means "to use scientific thought process".