Evolution Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson plan to teach your students about evolution. Two text lessons are used to outline natural selection and evolution for students and activities support hands-on learning. Test understanding with a quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define and explain evolution
  • describe how natural selection works


1 - 1.5 hours


Key Vocabulary

  • Evolution
  • Species
  • Trait
  • Natural selection
  • Adaptations
  • Inheritance

Curriculum Standards


Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.


Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.


Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.


Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.

Warm Up and Preparation

  • Label the board 'Evolution and Natural Selection' and distribute the text lesson Natural Selection Lesson for Kids.
  • Read the first section 'What is Natural Selection?' with students.
  • Define vocabulary terms on the board and have students look closely at the images of the two bears from the lesson.
  • Discuss:
    • What characteristics do these bears have that allow them to stay alive?
    • How do these traits help them to survive?
  • Next read the 'How Does Natural Selection Work?' section with students.
  • Have students talk to a partner to explain how natural selection works with the polar bears.
  • Next have each pair choose a new animal and discuss how their species uses natural selection.
  • Allow students to share and discuss as a whole group.
  • Read the 'Lesson Summary' and take the quiz together.

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