Enabling students to understand and analyse contemporary issues in science and technology

Activities for Evolution

Here are activities to help with the teaching of this topic.

Creation myths
Students see a power point presentation with creation myths from several different cultures and then discuss whether they have continuing influence and how these explanations of life compare to scientific explanations.
Teacher notes and student sheets (251 KB)
Teacher notes and student sheets (31 KB)
Powerpoint showing different creation stories (92 KB)
Powerpoint showing diversity (672 KB)

So much diversity .. can it be explained?
Explaining how all the diverse forms of life on earth arose is at the heart of the “evolution debate”. This activity introduces Lamarck’s more scientific attempt at an explanation.
Teacher notes and student sheets (593 KB)
Teacher notes and student sheets (58 KB)

Evolution cards
This is a simple activity to match cards but it serves as a good review of the main features of the theory.
Teacher notes and student sheets (367 KB)
Teacher notes and student sheets (50 KB)

Lss 50 PixLSS: Writing scientific articles for different audiences
Students revisit the skill scientific writing, this time with a focus on writing for a more general audience. This is akin to the sort of writing found in newspapers, magazines and some web sites.
Teacher notes and student sheets (742 KB)
Teacher notes and student sheets (100 KB)

Darwin’s finches
This activity asks students to interpret a story about the Galapagos finches in terms of evolution as practice in applying the theory.
Teacher notes and student sheets (407 KB)
Teacher notes and student sheets (40 KB)

One good theory to another
This activity encourages students to put Darwin’s ideas in context, by considering some of the other changes in scientific thinking that were happening at the time. They construct a time-line of significant developments.
Teacher notes and student sheets (390 KB)
Teacher notes and student sheets (40 KB)

It’s all in the bones –evidence for evolution
Students look at diagrams of mammalian limbs and consider the similarities and the adaptations shown. They then discuss how this provides evidence for evolution.
Teacher notes and student sheets (1.7 MB)
Teacher notes and student sheets (254 KB)

Genetics of sickle cell anaemia
This activity is based on reading an article explaining the genetics and role of natural selection in the disease. Several activities are included on the student sheet to focus their engagement with the text.
Teacher notes and student sheets (534 KB)
Teacher notes and student sheets (92 KB)

Sickle cell disease and selection - a simulation
In this activity, students simulate natural selection of the sickle cell alleles, using beans and a flipped coin. They should find that the sickle cell allele rapidly becomes more common where there is a high incidence of malarial infection giving an example of natural selection in practice.
Teacher notes and student sheets (553 KB)
Teacher notes and student sheets (91 KB)

Evolution and creation
This activity helps to frame the way students think about the world, and also helps to understand and respect different ways of addressing questions. It is important to be able to categorise frameworks for addressing questions about the universe. If students can do this, it is more likely they will be able to avoid bringing in religious or other unscientific arguments in the place of genuine science.
Teacher notes and student sheets (431 KB)
Teacher notes and student sheets (123 KB)

Extinction question
Teacher notes and student sheets (526 KB)
Teacher notes and student sheets (75 KB)

Exam style question on human evolution
Teacher notes and student sheets (412 KB)
Teacher notes and student sheets (54 KB)

Exam style question on Tiktaalik
An exam style question on the fossil record and about testing scientific explanations.
Teacher notes and student sheets (660 KB)
Teacher notes and student sheets (83 KB)