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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

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Teaching materials database

Found 34 resources for the concept: Scientists use fossils (including sequences of fossils showing gradual change over time) to learn about past life

imageStories from the Fossil Record
This web-based module provides students with a basic understanding of how fossils can be used to interpret the past.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

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

imageInterview: Anthony Barnosky on climate change and mammal evolution
UC Berkeley Professor Anthony Barnosky gives the inside scoop on how climate change has affected past speciation of mammals and how it may affect biodiversity in the future.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ActionBioscience.org

Resource type: Interview with Scientist

imageLines of evidence: The science of evolution
The theory of evolution is broadly accepted by scientists — and for good reason! Learn about the diverse and numerous lines of evidence that support the theory of evolution.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Tutorial

imageWebcast: Endless forms most beautiful
In lecture one of a four part series, evolutionary biologist Sean Carroll discusses Darwin and his two most important ideas: natural selection and common ancestry.
This lecture is available from Howard Hughes' BioInteractive website.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Resource type: Video Lecture

imageWebcast: From butterflies to humans
In lecture four of a four part series, evolutionary biologist Sean Carroll uses the developmental genetics of insects to explain how old genes can learn new tricks and how this can help us understand human evolution.
This lecture is available from Howard Hughes' BioInteractive website.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Resource type: Video Lecture

imageWebcast: The science of evolution
Evolutionary biologist Sean Carroll introduces the field of Evo-Devo, using examples from fruit flies, butterflies, and icefish to explain how this research is transforming our understanding of evolution.
This video is available from the New York Times website.

Audience: 9-12

Source: New York Times

Resource type: Video

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

imageSolving the Mystery of the Neandertals
This interactive web activity lets students compare the number of mutations in the mitochondrial genomes of Neandertals, humans, and chimps to determine ancestry and relatedness.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Dolan DNA Learning Center

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

imageInteractive investigation: The arthropod story
This interactive investigation delves into the amazing world of the arthropods and examines their success and their evolutionary constraints.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

imageUnderstanding Geologic Time
A web-based module in which students gain a basic understanding of geologic time, the evidence for events in Earth's history, relative and absolute dating techniques, and the significance of the Geologic Time Scale.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

imageGreat Fossil Find
Students are taken on an imaginary fossil hunt and hypothesize as to the identity of the creature they discover. Students revise their hypotheses as new evidence is "found."

Audience: 9-12

Source: ENSI

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

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: Oxygen as an evolutionary constraint
This news brief from November 2009 focuses on how changes in atmospheric chemistry may have factored into the evolution of life on Earth—specifically, life’s quadrillion-fold growth spurt from microscopic bacteria to organisms the size of the blue whale.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: What has the head of a crocodile and the gills of a fish?
This news brief, from May 2006, reviews what is likely to be the most important fossil find of the year: Tiktaalik helps us understand how our own ancestors crawled out of the water and began to walk on dry land.

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: 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

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

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

imageDarwin's "extreme" imperfection?
Darwin used the words "extreme imperfection" to describe the gappy nature of the fossil record - but is this really such a problem? This article delves into the topic of transitional fossils and explores what we have learned about them since Darwin's time.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Evolution: Education and Outreach

Resource type: Article

imageParsimonious explanations for punctuated patterns
Punctuated equilibrium is sometimes erroneously cited as evidence that evolutionary biology still hasn't figured out how evolution works. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. Punctuated equilibrium builds on (not tears down!) established evolutionary theory. Find out how the process works.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Evolution: Education and Outreach

Resource type: Article

imageEvo in the news: The evidence lines up in early mammal evolution
This news brief, from September 2011, describes the discovery of a new mammal species that highlights just how long mammals have been around. Back in the Jurassic, dinosaurs may have dominated terrestrial ecosystems, but they were not alone. Scurrying around their feet and clinging to the trees above them were the fuzzy ancestors of their successors.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageWebcast: Fossils, genes, and embryos
In lecture three of a four part series, evolutionary biologist David Kingsley examines the original objections to Darwin's theory and shows how modern evidence supports the theory.
This lecture is available from Howard Hughes' BioInteractive website.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Resource type: Video Lecture

imageNames, they are a-changing
The popular press often describes scientific controversies regarding which species ancient hominin fossils represent and how they are related to one another. How should students interpret the frequent name changes experienced by our extinct relatives? What should they make of headlines that trumpet major revisions of the branching patterns on our limb of the tree of life? This article will help teachers develop instruction surrounding these issues, discourage misconceptions, and help students interpret media coverage in light of the process of science.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Evolution: Education and Outreach

Resource type: Article

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

imageEvo in the News: A new look at dinosaur fossils pushes back the evolution of feathered wings
This news brief, from November 2012, describes what a new dinosaur fossil from North America has to tell us about the evolution of feathers.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: A new old animal
A new species of velvet worm was recently discovered in Vietnam. This news brief from September 2013 describes the key position of velvet worms in evolutionary history and how they help us better understand the fossil record of the Cambrian period.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

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