Biological Evolution

Biological Evolution

In this unit students will develop and refine an understanding of what biological evolution is, the mechanisms that drive it, and evidence that supports it. Students will learn how to prove mathematically that allele frequencies change over time, driving evolution. Students will be able to show that evolution is driven by genetic mutations that either get passed long to the net generation or not. 

This unit was created by Tawnee Jewell in the ESUCC Nebraska BlendEd Learning Group.

Content Area Skill:

 Content Area Standards

Student Friendly Learning Objectives:




I can analyze and explain how species change over time based on the different types of evidence.

I can use several methods to prove whether or not species are closely related.




I can explain how the 4 principles of natural selection explain how traits in a population can change over time. 

I can show how these 4 main ideas work by using an organism of my choosing and showing my classmates how the organism can change into another species if they are seperated from or removed from the larger population for long enough. I will show this by graphing data that proves how the organism changed over time. 




I can use the Hardy-Weinberg equation to show how allele frequencies change up and down or remain constant. 




I can identify and explain how an adaptation such as camouflage, which allows an animal to hide in its surroundings, will enable that organism to survive and reproduce. 




I can pick out information presented to me about how the environment can change populations. If an environment is destroyed I can explain how that can cause a decrease in the population or result in extinction. 




I can use a cladogram to show how organisms are related to each other. The nodes on the cladogram help to show when organisms changed and branched off from each other. 

Digital Age Skill(s):

Empowered Learner, Computational Thinker, Innovative Designer

Duration of Unit:

2-3 Weeks

Empower Learner Activity:

  1. Self-assessment - students will take the self-assessment to see how much knowledge they have going into the unit. (List your concepts ahead of time)

  2. Analysis - we will go over the results of the self-assessment determine what they already know.

  3. Students will create a goal plan based off of their self-assessment to show where they would like to be at the end of the unit. 

  4. Post-assessment - Students will take the assessment to see if they acquired the information they predicted in the pre-assessment. (List your concepts ahead of time)

  5. Lead students through "Which Evolved First?" activity. (PDF found below)

Download: Which_evolved_first_JlbGgm3.pdf

Knowledge Application Artifact Profile:

Color Variation over Time in Rock Pocket Mouse Populations.

Students analyze data from images of pocket mouse populations taken in different settings and over time. They then order of those images based on the data and their knowledge of evolution by natural selection. The activity involves collecting and graphing data and making evidence-based claims. 

Allele and Phenotype Frequencies in Rock Pocket Mouse Populations.

A lesson that uses real rock pocket mouse data collected by Dr. Michael Nachman and his colleagues to illustrate the Hardy-Weinberg principle.

Rubric Link:

Download: Pocket_Mouse_Rubric.pdf

Content Area Skills Addressed:

SC.HSP.10.5.A, SC.HSP.10.5.B, SC.HSP.10.5.C, SC.HSP.10.5.D, SC.HSP.10.5.E 

Digital Age Skills

Empowered Learner, Computational Thinker, Innovative Designer

Knowledge Deepening Tasks:

Task 1:

Description:  Students will complete 3 out of 9 squares on the choice board. They are asked to fill out one box from each vertical column. Each of the boxes is worth 25 points, for a total of 75 points when completed. Due dates will be set by me. I will monitor progress by meeting with each student individually each week. 

Must Do’s:

Must do 3 of the 9 boxes

May Do’s:

Can chose to do 1 extra box. 


Choice Board (PDF found in Resources)

Task 2: 

Description:  Students will complete 3 out of the 9 squares on the choice board. THey need to fill out one of the squares in each vertical column. This choice board is cumulative over the concepts connected with and stemming from evolutionary principles. Each box is worth 25 points, for a total of 75. The due dates on the choice boards will be set by me. The students will meet with me once a week to show me their progress and to discuss how the projects and activities are going. 

Must Do’s:

Must do 3 out of the 9 boxes

May Do’s:

Students can chose to come up with their own ideas or activities with teacher approval.


Choice Board (Doc found in resources)

Direct Instruction Learning Path:

Day #


BlendEd Model



Introduction of Evolution. Pre-Test has been assigned to them in their McGraw Hill student centers. They will take that and rate themselves on what they know. Discussion of concepts. 

Direct Instruction/


Pre/Post Assessment


Phenomenon Picture and 100 word essay. Presented class with picture and they are assigned with figuring out which evolved first and why? Attention grabber for Evolution


Empower Learner Activity


Review of what students know about Darwin and the concepts he used to develop hi theory of evolution 

Direct Instruction/




Students were placed into 3 groups. Station 1 - video on Darwin/Natural Selection. Station 2 - Section Worksheet. Station 3 - Camouflage activity 

(Stations 2 & 3 materials found in Glencoe McGraw Hill textbook)

Station Rotation

Darwin Video


Choice boards Natural Selection and Darwin


Choice Board


Introduction of new terms and making connections with what they already know

Direct Instruction/




We watched the video that accompanies the rock pocket mice activity together in class. Then I split the students up into 2 groups (group of 4 and group of 5). One group did the rock pocket mice activity, the other group watched a video and filled out the worksheet that accompanied the section from the textbook. The groups then rotated after about 25 minutes. 

(Worksheet found in Glencoe McGraw-Hill textbook)

Station Rotation

Rock pocket mice

Stated clearly video


Introduction of last set of concepts and vocabulary terms in lecture. Class Discussion. 

Direct Instruction/Lecture



Hardy-Weinberg activity in class. 

Group Work

Allele Frequency


Choice boards on concepts covered in the second half of the unit. This choice board is more cumulative and connects all of the terms and concepts together for the students. They need to finish 3 of the 9 boards. Meet with individual students daily to check in on their progress. 


Choice Board #2


Students need to fill out their post-assessment and compare it to the pre-assessment they took at the beginning of the unit. 

Direct Instruction/Flex



Download: Natural_Selection_Choice_Board.pdf

Download: tic_tac_toe_evolution.docx

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