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Online Lessons for Teachers: Learning Evolution

LESSON 3: 

What Is the Evidence for Evolution?

View LESSON 3 Student Page

Activity 1: Evolution and Time

Activity 1: Teacher Notes

Activity 2: Evidence for Evolution WebQuest

Materials You'll Need:
•  Large paper (24" x 36")
•  Markers
•  Rulers

Activity 2 Teacher Notes: Evidence for Evolution WebQuest

In a WebQuest, students work in teams to conduct research on selected Web sites and then report their findings. In this Evolution WebQuest, specialists will gather evidence from the fields of paleontology, anatomy and physiology, and molecular biology. They will present their findings to the class.

Learning Goals

• 

To show students how different branches of science work together to support a theory

• 

To help students understand how scientists collect and organize evidence for evolution

Procedures

1. 

This activity will probably take two class periods. On the first day students can begin their research and discuss the format of their presentations. Then for homework they can finish their research and prepare their presentations, which will be given on the second day.

2. 

Divide the class into small groups (groups of six work well). Assign two students from each group to be molecular biologists, two to be anatomists or physiologists, and two to be paleontologists.

3. 

Students will find a list of recommended Web sites on the Student Page. They should visit the sites assigned to their specialty, and then look for additional sites if they have time. Each pair of students (the specialists on one team) should find four to five examples of evidence for evolution.

4. 

Distribute chart paper, markers, and rulers to each group, so they can create their charts.

5. 

On the second day of class, have the students make their presentations. Suggest that each presenter try to provide new examples if possible to avoid repetition. Encourage students to ask the presenters questions.

6. 

Discuss how the type of evidence gathered depended on the historical time period.

Conclusion
At the conclusion of this WebQuest, students will have a better appreciation for the validity of the theory of evolution because they will understand that the evidence comes from a wide range of scientific disciplines. They will also have gained experience in collaborating with their peers, an essential skill for aspiring scientists.


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