Understanding Evolution: your one-stop source for information on evolution
Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101 Support this project

Teaching materials:
Teaching materials database

Found 26 resources for the concept: Biological evolution accounts for diversity over long periods of time

imageUnderstanding Macroevolution Through Evograms
Evograms convey information about how a group of organisms and their particular features evolved. This article explains how to read evograms and delves into the evolutionary history of whales, tetrapods, mammals, birds, and humans.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

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: 13-16

Source: Grant, Robert

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: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

imageEvo in the news: Fighting the evolution of malaria in Cambodia
This news brief from December 2009 focuses on one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases: malaria. Malaria is normally treatable, but now some strains are evolving resistance to our most effective drug. Find out how researchers and doctors are trying to control the evolution of the disease.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

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: 13-16

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: 13-16

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: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageIsland biogeography and evolution: Solving a phylogenetic puzzle using molecular genetics
Students focus on the evolution of three species of lizards using real data sets — geographical and geological data, then morphology, and finally molecular data — to determine possible phylogenetic explanations.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Filson, R.P.

Resource type: Lab activity

imageClassification and Evolution
Students construct an evolutionary tree of imaginary animals (Caminalcules) to illustrate how modern classification schemes attempt to reflect evolutionary history.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Gendron, Robert

Resource type: Lab activity

imageIt takes teamwork: How endosymbiosis changed life on Earth
You might be surprised to learn that descendents of an ancient bacterium are living in every cell of your body! Find out how endosymbiosis factored into the evolution of your own cells and learn about a modern example of this process.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

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: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageCells within cells: An extraordinary claim with extraordinary evidence
When biologist Lynn Margulis revived the strange-sounding idea that the merging of cells played a prominent role in the evolution of complex life, the scientific community roundly rejected the notion. Today, this idea is accepted as a textbook fact. Learn more about the evidence and social factors that spurred the acceptance of this key aspect of evolutionary theory.
This article is available from the Understanding Science website.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Understanding Science

Resource type: Article

imageThe Meaning of Genetic Variation
Students investigate variation in the beta globin gene by identifying base changes that do and do not alter function, and by using several internet-based resources to consider the significance in different environments of the base change associated with sickle cell disease.

Audience: 13-16

Source: National Institutes of Health

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageEvo in the News: What comes after mass extinctions?
This news brief, from September 2012, describes the aftermath of mass extinctions--what happens to surviving species in the wake of a massive extinction event.

Audience: 13-16

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: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageRadiations and extinctions: Biodiversity through the ages
This excerpted chapter from Carl Zimmer's book, The Tangled Bank, describes the evolutionary processes responsible for large scale patterns in the diversity of life through time. Reprinted with the permission of Roberts and Company Publishers, Inc.
This resource is available from the National Center for Science Education.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Zimmer, Carl

Resource type: Article

imageSpeciation: An illustrated introduction
This video illustrates the speciation process in birds to help explain the basis of earth's biodiversity. Registration may be required to view the discussion and multiple choice questions that accompany the video.

Audience: 13-16

Source: TED-ed

Resource type: Video

imagePhylogenetics laboratory: Reconstructing evolutionary history
By examining specimens, students fill in a data matrix of animal taxa and complete exercises to learn about synapomorphies, mapping characters on a phylogeny, and assessing parsimony.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Kefyn Catley and Laura Novick

Resource type: Lab activity

imageDNA to Darwin: Darwin's 'abominable mystery' - the origin of flowering plants
Students build a phylogenetic tree from the chloroplast genome in order to learn about the origin of flowers and the characteristics of the first flowering plants.

Audience: 13-16

Source: DNA to Darwin

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageDNA to Darwin: Elaiosomes and seed dispersal by ants
In this activity, students build a phylogenetic tree of plants. From the dated tree, students infer when elaiosomes (a plant structure) and use this information to examine hypotheses about possible reasons for the evolution of elaiosomes.

Audience: 13-16

Source: DNA to Darwin

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageDNA to Darwin: Evolution of colour vision in primates
Students explore the molecular basis and evolutionary origin of trichromatic (red/green/blue) color vision in humans and our close evolutionary relatives using nucleic acid sequences of opsins, key proteins involved in the process.

Audience: 13-16

Source: DNA to Darwin

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageStickleback Evolution Virtual Lab
This virtual lab teaches skills of data collection and analysis to study evolutionary processes using stickleback fish and fossil specimens.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Resource type: Online activity or lab

imageDNA to Darwin: Woolly mammoths and their relatives
In this case study, the evolutionary relationship of the extinct Woolly mammoth to modern elephants and other species is investigated. Complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences are used for this purpose.

Audience: 13-16

Source: DNA to Darwin

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageDNA to Darwin: The evolution of taste receptors
Students investigate the evolution of taste receptors by using protein sequence data to generate a phylogenetic tree of sweet, umami and bitter taste receptors from six animal species. In a second, more advanced activity, the evolution of bitter taste receptors by gene duplication is studied using DNA sequence data. The unusual case of the giant panda, which has lost the ability to taste meaty flavours, is also introduced.

Audience: 13-16

Source: DNA to Darwin

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageEvolution of human skin color
Students examine evidence for the relationship between UV and melanin in other animals; investigate the genetic basis for constitutive skin color humans; learn to test for natural selection in mouse fur color; investigate how interactions between UV and skin color in humans can affect fitness; and explore data on migrations and gene frequency to show convergent evolution of skin color.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageAdaptation to altitude
In this set of sequenced lessons, students learn how to devise an experiment to test the difference between acclimation and adaptation; investigate how scientific arguments show support for natural selection in Tibetans; design an investigation using a simulation based on the Hardy-Weinberg principle to explore mechanisms of evolution; and devise a test for whether other groups of people have adapted to living at high altitudes.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Resource type: Classroom activity

Search here:

Grade(s):   K-2     3-5     6-8     9-12     13-16       Spanish        Topics: 

Keyword(s):    Types:       Sort by:       

To search for teaching materials that address particular concepts in our conceptual framework, visit the teachers' lounge for your grade level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, or undergraduate.



 

Teachers' lounges 9-12 Undergrad 6-8 3-5 K-2

All-level resources
Guide to Evo 101

Conceptual framework

Teaching resource database

Image library

Dealing with objections to evolution

Correcting misconceptions

Alignment with science standards

Suggest a lesson or resource for Understanding Evolution