Evolution & Natural Selection Lesson Plans

Evolution from Sea to Land
        Darwinian evolution lesson plans designed for high school, middle school, and elementary school science teachers are downloadable here. The dinosaur evolution project lets students use their imagination and genetics to create a new dinosaur. A great evolution experiment is for students to make observations of bone structures of different animals. An example natural selection activity lets students mimic bacteria becoming immune to antibiotics. Evolution worksheets and exam / test / quiz questions also provide help with evaluating the student’s progress. Click the titles below to see a list of lessons for each category. Free evolution lesson plans include:
  • Natural Selection Lesson Plans

    • Adaptation - Favorable variations and traits for survival.
    • Survival of the fittest
    • Directional Selection - one extreme phenotype thrives.
    • Stabilizing Selection - intermediate phenotypes thrive, both extreme phenotypes die off.
    • Disruptive Selection - both extreme phenotypes thrive, intermediate phenotypes die off.
    • Sexual Selection - increase reproductive success.
    • Artificial Selection - humans breeding animals.
    • Principle of Variation - physiology, morphology, behavior.
    • Principle of Selection - certain traits are more successful for survival.
  • Types of Evolution Lesson Plans

    • Artificial Selection - humans are involved in selecting the surviving / reproducing organisms.
    • Mutation - change in DNA.
    • Genetic Drift - founder effect, bottleneck effect.
    • Gene Flow - migration, mating between different populations.
  • Evidence of Evolution Lesson Plans

    • Fossils - paleontologists, fossil record, carbon dating.
    • Macromolecules - proteins, amino acid sequences, nucleic acids.
    • Anatomy - vestigial structures, homologous structures, vertebrate embryos.
  • Taxonomy Lesson Plans

    • 5 Kingdoms - Monera (Eubacteria and Archeobacteria), Protista, Fungi, Plantae, Animalia
    • Taxonomic Rank - domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species.
    • Scientific Classification in biology
    • Linnaean Taxonomy - Carl Linnaeus
    • Dichotomous Key
    • Evolutionary Tree - cladograms
    • Dichotomous Key
  • History of Life Lesson Plans

    • Thomas Malthus - human population growth.
    • Jean Baptiste Lamarck - use and disuse of physical attributes.
    • Charles Lyell - Earth’s surface changes.
    • Darwin’s Voyage - HMS Beagle, Galapagos Islands, finches, turtles, iguanas.
    • Alfred Wallace - asked darwin to help publish essay, Darwin’s book "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection".
    • Radiometric Dating - radioisotopes, half-life.
    • Bacteria - archaebacteria, eubacteria, endosymbiosis.
    • Cambrian Period - animal phyla origin, ozone layer.
    • Sea to Land - plants, fungi, arthropods, amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs, mass extinction, continental drift.
    • Rate of Evolution - gradualism, punctuated equilibrium.
    • Primates - binocular vision, grasping hands / feet.
    • Apes - opposable thumbs.
    • Hominids - bipedal, Lucy, Homo sapiens.
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Dinosaur Fossil

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Free Lesson Plans

NGSS Life Science is a curriculum community for middle school and high school science teachers. High school, middle school, and elementary school curriculums include Darwin’s natural selection experiments, adaptation labs, evolutionary science projects, evolution activities, species demos, genetic evolution worksheets, and evolution exam / test / quiz questions. Some lesson plan topics include evolutionary theory, Darwin’s voyage, evidence of evolution, fossils, animal adaptation, natural selection, and more.