Lesson: The "I" in Evolution: Biological Individuality

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Lesson Objective

Students understand how genetic variations lead to individuality within populations.

Lesson Plan


Computer with internet access, preferably computers for each student



Biology- Genetics 2. Mutation and sexual reproduction lead to genetic variation in a population. As a basis for understanding this concept.


Anticipatory Set:

Solicit explanations from students based on prior knowledge:

What is evolution?


Lead discussion to the idea of “Survival of the Fittest”



So, we are going to talk about what this really means. How did we get from wolves to dogs, from lions to cats, etc?


What does “survival” mean? Why do some animals live and others die? How is that related to changes in the animals and plants we have on Earth?


What does it mean to be the “fittest”?  Why are some animals or plants better able to survive than others?


Guided Practice:

In order to get there, we need to answer some questions about individuals, and then about collective populations. Each student will play some games and come up with an answer/explanation for each of these questions.


  1. Why aren’t we exact copies of our parents? http://nature.ca/genome/04/041/0414_e.cfm
  2. How do we get the traits we get? http://nature.ca/genome/04/041/mxgnes-e.html
  3. How do babies suddenly get totally different traits from their ancestors (mutations)? http://nature.ca/genome/04/041/mxgnes-e.html
  4. What kind of mutations happen? http://science.discovery.com/games-quizzes/weird-animal-mutations-quiz/
  5. What is an adaptation? http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/nwep1.htm


Circulate and guide students to understanding individuality in Biology.


Independent Practice:

Have students work in partners to write a narrative explanation, or draw a visual explanation, of why individuals are different, and why some survive and some do not.




Have some fun and review trait heredity as a class by playing Thingdom all together. http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/WhoAmI/Thingdom.aspx



Lesson Resources



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