NGSS Standard: MS-LS4-4
Science and Engineering Practices: Constructing Explanations
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Year Created: 2014
Phenomena: None explicit in lesson; before lesson, students are shown pictures of unusually shaped animals (giraffes, anglerfish, etc.) and ask questions about the shapes of those animals.
Reflection: These are a series of activities that I've used for the past few years to introduce the idea of evolution by natural selection. In each activity, students come to understand that some organisms are better suited for certain environments than others. The students love playing the active games and enjoy the competition. Important misconceptions that I continue to address throughout the unit are that organisms do not choose certain traits to evolve and that individual organisms do not evolve over their lifetime. These activities are able to show that some students are simply born with traits that are better suited for certain games (such as long arms for the first activity or fast reflexes for musical chairs).