Natural Selection

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Students will be able to explain natural selection as a way for certain individuals to survive and pass on their genetic information.

Big Idea

Natural selection is not random.


15 minutes

I start this lesson by showing the students Stated Clearly's What is Natural Selection? video.

As we watch the video, I stop at the indicated key parts to allow us to have a discussion and/or clarify the information being presented:

  • 1:05 -  What is descent with modification? 
  • 1:53 - What gives evidence of common descent? 
  • 2:20 - Why was common descent not accepted? 
  • 4:36 - What did Charles Darwin observe, and what was the roadblock he encountered in his thinking? 
  • 5:46 - How did the idea of selective breeding affect the concept of natural selection? 
  • 7: 08 - What guides selective breeding?  What guides natural selection?

Natural Selection Web Activity

40 minutes

I tell the students that for the remainder of the class period they will work on a series of web activities. In order to get credit for their work, they must Log on to Edmodo where they will find my natural selection guided notes. They should create their own copy of the document, which has all the links they will need to navigate through the different activities. Once they are done, students should share their copy of the document with me, and turn it in to the Edmodo assignment. 

I decided to teach this lesson as a compilation of web activities because it reinforces the idea of using the web as powerful source of information. In this screencast, I walk you through how this activity unfolds.

 The different activities are fun and engaging. As engaging as I may be (or not), no student wants to hear me drone on about Darwin, but when they see him blabbing on nonsensically, the students think it is hilarious. The evolution experience is more challenging and useful for students to determine patterns in the data (CCC Patterns), as they observe how the population graph changes over time (SP4).

Although the web-activity is done independently, it requires that students derive meaning from scientific text (SP8), and examine their own understanding in light of the new evidence they obtain (SP7).

Watch as a student explains how interactives help keep him "hooked".




5 minutes

Often, students do not finish the web activity in one class period. Even though they are not done, I ask that they turn in the document they are working on to the Edmodo assignment, and then have them complete it as homework. Here is an example of a student response.

I remind students that if they have any questions, they can post them up on Edmodo for me or a classmate to answer.