February 12 is Charles Darwin’s birthday. We wanted to highlight just a few of the many resources available for anyone who might want to use this opportunity to discuss Darwin’s work on evolution and natural selection. We’ve created many lesson plans that incorporate these topics, but these are just a few to get you started!
For anyone who might be interested, the Michigan State University Museum on the East Lansing campus host Darwin Discovery Day each year with a variety of free activities (more information can be found at http://museum.msu.edu/?q=node/358). If you can’t make it out for Darwin Day, you can still use several of our lessons to explore similar topics in your classroom!
In this lesson, students will learn about survival, reproduction, selection, adaptation, and evolution all while playing hands-on games and constructing their knowledge through experience. Students get to be birds and compete against their classmates to eat the most seeds. Next, students become part of a bird population with a variety of beak sizes. Students observe how populations change over time based on the environment. Students explain why the population changes over time, and they also make predictions about what will happen to the population in future years.
A strong understanding of evolution is paramount to any education in biology. In this lesson students will be introduced to the concept of evolution and natural selection using a combination of presentation, worksheet, and several outdoor games and demonstrations. These activities will emphasize how populations change over time as a result of evolution by natural selection. Students will learn how we define evolution and natural selection, as well as the key components required for natural selection to occur. Using a series of demonstrations, students will also learn about the different forms of selection (directional, stabilizing, disruptive). Finally, these activities can all be used to identify and discuss the inaccuracies of several misconceptions of evolution by natural selection.
If you would like to have a fellow come to your class to help with these lessons (or any of the other lesson plans found in our interactive table) please send a request to Kara Haas and one of our fellows will get back to you!
The KBS K-12 Partnership brings teachers and scientists together to improve science teaching and communication skills. Lesson plans, professional development opportunities and field trips are available. Contact Kara Haas to learn more.