Evolution Unit Plan for Middle School

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This asset provides a guideline for middle school teachers who are developing a unit on evolution. Students will learn how evidence has been collected to prove how natural selection and adaptation have influenced the history of biological life.


Middle school teachers help set the stage for future learning about evolution by offering instruction on adaptations and natural selection. This unit plan offers a guideline for teaching students about the scientists and evidence behind the science. Round out the unit with some fun games and assessment tools.

The Scientists

While highly criticized during his time, much of what we know about evolution originated with the theories of Charles Darwin. The Charles Darwin Lesson Plan teaches students about the life and work of this important scientist. Students will learn important terms related to evolution and research Darwin's discoveries to gain background information that will support the remainder of this unit.

Students may enhance their understanding of Charles Darwin with Charles Darwin Activities. Students will create visuals, dramatizations, art, and writing about Darwin's research on the Galapagos Islands.

Another important scientist in this field is Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. Although Darwin later proved much of Lamarck's work wrong, students can learn about the evolution of science through this scientist. Lamarckism Activities offers opportunities for students to learn about Lamarck's contributions through their preferred learning style.

Natural Selection

The Natural Selection Activities offers some ideas for hands-on activities that help students make sense of natural selection. Students will examine the characteristics of various types of beans and then research how the environment in which each type grows is related to its outcome. They will also explore the beaks of various birds and compare them to everyday objects, such as chopsticks and tweezers. Students will make connections to each bird's food source and the shape of its beak.

The Natural Selection & Antibiotic Resistance Activity may then be used to help students understand how predator preferences influence the traits of a species over time using candy and data collection to engage students and emphasize the point. That information is then related to the resistant traits of surviving bacteria.

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