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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

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Found 49 resources for the concept: A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing.

imageAncient Farmers of the Amazon
In this activity, students find out about research being conducted on Amazon leafcutter ants. They also watch video segments to make their own virtual field observations and write their own research proposals.

Audience: 9-12

Source: WGBH

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageFrom soup to cells - The origin of life
Delve into our current understandings of the origins of life and how scientists are able to investigate the details of such ancient events.
This article is located within Evolution 101.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Tutorial

imageHistory of evolutionary thought
In this section, you will see how study in four disciplinary areas — Earth's history, life's history, mechanisms of evolution, and development and genetics — has contributed to our current understanding of evolution.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

imageProposing the Theory of Biological Evolution
Students read short excerpts of original statements on evolution from Jean Lamarck, Charles Darwin, and Alfred Russel Wallace to gain historical perspective and an understanding of the nature of science.

Audience: 9-12

Source: National Academy of Sciences

Resource type: Article

imageWhat did T. Rex Taste Like?
In this web-based module students are introduced to cladistics, which organizes living things by common ancestry and evolutionary relationships.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

imageThe Monterey Pine through geologic time
Understanding the evolutionary history of the Monterey Pine may help us conserve this species.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Perry, Frank

Resource type: Article

imageXenosmilus
Students play the roles of paleontologists on a dig. They “unearth” a few fossils at a time and attempt to reconstruct the animal the fossils represent.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageInterview: Douglas Futuyma on natural selection
This interview with one of the most influential evolutionary biologists of today addresses many aspects of natural selection: how it works, examples, misconceptions, and implications.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ActionBioscience.org

Resource type: Interview with Scientist

imageA Strange Fish Indeed: The “Discovery” of a Living Fossil
Through a series of fictionalized diary entries, this case recounts the 1939 discovery by Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer (and identification by J.L.B. Smith) of a living coelacanth, a fish believed to have been extinct for 70 million years.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Grant, Robert

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageAn antipodal mystery
The discovery of the platypus had the scientific world in an uproar with its mammal-like and bird-like features. How was one to classify the platypus? This case study uses this issue to model the scientific process, with scientists arguing, debating, collecting more evidence, and revising their opinions as new data become available.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Herreid, Clyde Freeman

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageInvestigating Natural Selection
Students experience one mechanism for evolution through a simulation that models the principles of natural selection and helps answer the question: How might biological change have occurred and been reinforced over time?

Audience: 9-12

Source: National Academy of Sciences

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageVisualizing life on Earth: Data interpretation in evolution
This web-based module leads students through an exploration of the patterns in the diversity of life across planet Earth. Students are scaffolded as they practice data interpretation and scientific reasoning skills.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

imageEvolution and Antibiotic Resistance
Students learn why evolution is at the heart of a world health threat by investigating the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance in such menacing diseases as tuberculosis.

Audience: 9-12

Source: WGBH

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageHominid Cranium Comparison (The "Skulls" Lab)
Students describe, measure and compare cranial casts from contemporary apes, modern humans, and fossil hominids to discover some of the similarities and differences between these forms and to see the pattern leading to modern humans.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ENSI

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageEvo in the news: Hotspots for evolution
Why are there so many different species in the tropics? This news brief, from June 2006, suggests why: warmer weather may be linked to a quicker pace for evolution.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Quick bites and quirky adaptations
Trap-jaw ants made headlines with the record-breaking speed of their jaws and a quirky behavior: flinging themselves into the air using the power of their mandibles. This news brief from October 2006 reveals the evolutionary story behind the headlines.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Musseling in on evolution
This news brief, from September 2006, reviews a recent case of evolution in action. In just 15 years, mussels have evolved in response to an invasive crab species. Find out how biologists uncovered this example of evolution on double time.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: More than morphology
This news brief, from August 2006, describes recent research on T. rex, with a special focus on how paleontologists move beyond the shape of the animal's bones to learn about aspects of its life that don't fossilize very well: its physiology, sensory abilities, and population dynamics.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Where species come from
Lush tropical ecosystems house many times more species than temperate or Arctic regions. This news brief from November 2006 discusses the evolutionary explanation for this diversity trend and reveals why threats to tropical ecosystems may threaten diversity on a global scale.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Got lactase?
The ability to digest milk is a recent evolutionary innovation that has spread through some human populations. This news brief from April 2007 describes how evolution has allowed different human populations to take advantage of the nutritional possibilities of dairying and links evolution with the prevalence of lactose tolerance among people of different ethnicities.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: When it comes to evolution, headlines often get it wrong
Newly discovered fossils are prompting some scientists to consider a minor revision of the relationships shown on the human family tree. This news brief from September 2007 clarifies the occasionally misleading news coverage of the story.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: The new shrew that's not
This news brief from March of 2008 describes scientists' discovery of a new mammal species, a giant elephant shrew. Though elephant shrews resemble regular shrews, recent genetic evidence suggests that elephant shrews actually sprang from a much older (and perhaps more charismatic) branch of the tree of life - the one belonging to elephants and their relatives.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Sex, speciation, and fishy physics
More than 500 species of cichlid fish inhabit Africa's Lake Victoria. This news brief from March 2009 explains new research suggesting that the physics of light may have played an important role in cichlid diversification and in the recent drop in their diversity.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Making sense of ancient hominin DNA
In March 2010 German researchers announced that they had managed to extract DNA from the 40,000 year old fossil bone from a child discovered in a Siberian cave and that it didn't match up to the known genetic sequences of either humans or Neanderthals! This news brief examines the evidence in more detail and considers what that evidence might — or might not — mean about such claims.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageA Step in Speciation
Students compare different subspecies of a California salamander on a grid map of California to focus on patterns of their distribution, their likely evolutionary relationships, and probable sequence of formation from the ancestral salamander.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ENSI

Resource type: Lab activity

imageInvestigating Common Descent: Formulating Explanations and Models
Students formulate explanations and models that simulate structural and biochemical data as they investigate the misconception that humans evolved from apes.

Audience: 9-12

Source: National Academy of Sciences

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageThe Checks Lab
Students construct plausible scenarios using bank checks to learn how human values and biases influence observation and interpretation.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ENSI

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageAloha, spider style! The work of Rosemary Gillespie
This research profile follows Dr. Rosemary Gillespie to Hawaii as she evaluates hypotheses about the evolution of the colorful happy-face spider.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageAncient fossils and modern climate change: The work of Jennifer McElwain
Wondering how global warming will affect our planet? Scientist Jennifer McElwain studies the fossil record in order to learn more about how global warming has affected life on Earth in the past and how it might affect life on Earth in the future.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageBattling bacterial evolution: The work of Carl Bergstrom
This research profile examines how the scientist Carl Bergstrom uses computer modeling to understand and control the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria in hospitals.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageAngling for evolutionary answers: The work of David O. Conover
Human activity has certainly affected our physical environment - but it is also changing the course of evolution. This research profile follows scientist David O. Conover as he investigates the impact of our fishing practices on fish evolution and discovers what happened to the big ones that got away.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageA closer look at a classic ring species: The work of Tom Devitt
The Ensatina salamander has been extensively investigated because it is a ring species — a species that demonstrates how geography and the gradual accumulation of genetic differences factor into the process of speciation. Biologist Tom Devitt continues the more than 50 years of Ensatina research by applying new genetic techniques and asking new questions about this classic evolutionary example.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageFrom the origin of life to the future of biotech: The work of Andy Ellington
This research profile examines how scientist Andy Ellington has co-opted the power of artificial selection to construct new, useful molecules in his lab. The results of his work could help protect us from terrorist attacks and fight HIV and cancer.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageHow to survive a mass extinction: The work of David Jablonski
Through detailed analysis of patterns in the fossil record, scientist David Jablonski reconstructs the rules that helped dictate who lived and died in past mass extinctions. This research profile describes his surprising discoveries and their disturbing implications for the biodiversity crisis today.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageThe genes that lie beneath: The work of Leslea Hlusko
Evolutionary biologist Leslea Hlusko’s research takes her from the deserts of Ethiopia, where she hunts for hominid and primate fossils, to a baboon colony in San Antonio where she takes thousands of measurements of the primates' imposing canines. This research profile describes how the two projects are linked by a hunt for genetic variation, a key component of natural selection.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageUsing trees to understand plants: The work of Chelsea Specht
This research profile follows scientist Chelsea Specht as she pieces together the evolutionary history of tropical plants and their pollinators--and in the process, tries to figure out how to conserve endangered species.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageBiological warfare and the coevolutionary arms race
The rough-skinned newt looks harmless enough but is, in fact, packed full of one of the most potent neurotoxins known to man. Find out how an evolutionary arms race has pushed these mild-mannered critters to the extremes of toxicity and how evolutionary biologists have unraveled their fascinating story.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

imageFire ants invade and evolve
Understanding the evolution of fire ants may help scientists control the spread of these pests, which have already taken over much of the U.S.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

imageUsing trees to uproot HIV: The work of Satish Pillai
This research profile follows scientist Satish Pillai as he studies the evolution of HIV within infected individuals. His research uses the tools of phylogenetics to investigate vaccine development and the possibility of curing the disease.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageVariability and Selection in Natural Populations of Wood Lice
In this lab, students measure the amount of variation in a natural population of terrestrial wood lice and then determine which traits are subject to selection by predators by performing a simulated predation experiment.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Berkelhamer, Rudi

Resource type: Lab activity

imageSelection and evolution with a deck of cards
This classroom exercise introduces the concept of evolution by natural selection in a hypothesis-driven, experimental fashion, using a deck of cards.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Evolution: Education and Outreach

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageHow boogieing birds evolved: The work of Kim Bostwick
This research profile follows ornithologist Kim Bostwick through the jungles of Ecuador and the halls of museums as she investigates the evolution of an exotic bird's complex mating dance.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageInvestigating a Deep Sea Mystery
In this lab activity, students examine authentic morphological and phylogenetic data of three fish families and then pose and test alternative hypotheses about the fishes' classification.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ETOL

Resource type: Lab activity

imageCSI: Olduvai Gorge. The work of Jackson Njau
This research profile follows paleoanthropologist Jackson Njau as he investigates ancient predators, like crocodiles and large cats, in an effort to understand how these organisms shaped the evolution of our human ancestors.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageSexo, especiación y física subacuática
Evolución en las noticias relata una reciente historia que señala como comprender física básica puede revelar como la evolución esta ocurriendo hoy — en especial, como la física de la luz tiene influencia sobre la selección sexual, especiación y el colapso de la biodiversidad, producto de la polución causada por los humanos...

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageSound trees
Students learn how spectrograms represent sound variation and then examine the sounds of owls for traits that might be useful in determining evolutionary relationships. They compare these traits to morphological ones and test their hypotheses.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Resource type: Lab activity

imageTeaching the Process of Molecular Phylogeny and Systematics: A Multi-Part Inquiry-Based Exercise
Students explore molecular data from Homo sapiens and four related primates and develop hypotheses regarding the ancestry of these five species by analyzing DNA sequences, protein sequences, and chromosomal maps.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Lents, Nathan, et al

Resource type: Lab activity

imageThe Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaption
This 10-minute film describes the research of Dr. Michael Nachman and colleagues, whose work in the field and in the lab has documented and quantified physical and genetic evolutionary changes in rock pocket mouse populations.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Resource type: Video

imageThe Making of the Fittest: The Birth and Death of Genes
This 13-minute film describes how scientists have pieced together the evolutionary history of the Antarctic icefish by studying its genome – an excellent case study for genetic evolution as both the gain and loss of genes have led to key adaptations.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Resource type: Video

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