This lesson plan provides a simple introduction to the mechanism of natural selection for students who are already familiar with concepts such as ecosystems, species, and variation. The lesson includes a short walk (can be done with nature photos) to identify the types and scales of variation in the natural world. Students then work in groups to adapt organisms (seeds) to different environments (soil types) in a fun, interactive exercise. Once seeds are well adapted to their environments, students will try to determine what made some of the organisms better than others, and try to predict how a new seed type will fare. The entire lesson is framed around how adaptions may help invasive species, but is equally applicable to native species. Teacher scripts are provided for the lesson introduction and accompanying power point.
This lesson would be appropriate in sections covering: natural selection, evolution, variation, invasive species, and adaptation.
At the conclusion of these lessons, students will be able to:
- Explain the role of the environment in natural selection and evolution
- Explain how variants lead to evolution through natural selection
- Explain how invasive species create competition with native species
- Explain how invasive species can affect natural selection and evolution
- Lesson plan
- Presentation slides
- Student worksheet
- Survivor Walk teacher script (pdf)
- Game data (.xlsx)
Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellow Amanda Charbonneau, 2013