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Teaching Natural Selection and Evolution

Natural selection is one of my favorite topics to teach. Students enter the classroom with prior misconceptions and it’s fun to have students figure out what natural selection and evolution really mean. Here is a list of my favorite natural selection and evolution activities:

Battle of the beaks lab from science lessons that rock

1. Battle of the Beaks– This lab is always a hit! Students get to simulate Darwin’s finches by having different “beaks” (tweezers, clothespins, etc) and feeding on different foods. Check it out here FREE in my TpT store!

2. Rock Pocket Mouse In this activity students examine how fur color in pocket mice determines their fitness. Students learn that mutations aren’t good or bad, but instead are beneficial or harmful based on their environment. Check it out here for free on biointeractive’s website. Note: there are multiple versions of this activity based on your grade level. 
3. Peppered Moth Simulation- In this online game, students act as birds eating peppered moths off tree bark. They complete 2 rounds- one on light colored bark and another on dark colored bark. They can see how the population of moths changes over time.

Analyzing darwin's finches graphing activity from Science Lessons That Rock

4. Analyzing Darwin’s Finches– This activity looks at the research of Peter and Rosemary Grant. This couple studied Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos Islands and saw evolution occur twice within a short number of years. This activity incorporates graphing skills which is always great to throw in! Check it out here.

5. Speciation Video– When you talk about how all of today’s species evolved from a common ancestor, naturally many questions will arise. How do new species form? I love how clearly this video explains the process of speciation.

Speciation Lab from Science Lessons That rock

6. Speciation Lab- This lab is simple to do and is a winner because it uses skittles! I created this lab because I couldn’t find any activities that reinforced the types of isolation that lead to speciation. CLICK HERE to download it. 


7. Digital Choice Board- Want a summative assignment that gives students some voice and choice in the way they are assessed? Check out this digital choice board!

If you feel like your students are ready to delve into hominid evolution, check out this blog post that includes some resources. 
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Hi, I'm Becca!

I help busy science teachers get your prep back by providing you time saving lessons, labs, and resources.

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