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Online Lessons for Teachers: Learning Evolution

LESSON 6: Teacher Page

Why Does Evolution Matter Now?

When your students think about evolution, the first things that come to mind are probably rooted in ancient history -- maybe dinosaurs or saber-toothed tigers. But in reality, the kinds of genetic changes that can be caused by natural selection happen in all organisms, and can happen with surprising speed. This lesson will look at how understanding evolution and its mechanisms helps scientists deal with world health threats and global environmental crises as well as predict the impact new technology will have on our future.

Note: The activities in Lesson Six can be used as a concluding look at evolution. The main goal of the lesson is to help students understand that evolution is an ongoing process in their world and will continue to affect world health, diversity, and the environment.

Activity 1: Evolution and Antibiotic Resistance

 This activity will take between one and four class periods.
Image of bacteria.

Students will investigate the growing problem of antibiotic resistance and what this means in the realm of menacing diseases such as tuberculosis, influenza, and AIDS.

Learning Goals


Learn about real-time evolutionary change


Investigate the problems of antibiotic resistance


Learn about the evolution of infectious disease

Activity 2: Evolution in Your World

 This activity will take two to three class periods.
Image of an ear of corn.

Students will learn how evolution affects their world and how understanding evolution can help us understand, and hopefully solve, problems in medicine, agriculture, and the environment.

Learning Goals


Learn how scientists use their knowledge of evolution to understand and develop new approaches to problem-solving in health, agriculture, and ecology


Learn how evolution is used to study the impact of humans on their environment, health, and agriculture

Additional Activities
Find out why many people can't digest milk.

View LESSON 6 Student Page

 Scientific Terms

Antibiotic Resistance



Natural Selection

Assessment Rubric
Guidelines for assessing students' mastery of activity.

National Science Standards for LESSON 6

Icon with a clock, representing 45 minutes of class time.Time to Learn!

Each clock icon respresents approximately one
45-minute classroom session (not including homework).

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