Evolution Unit – Teacher’s Guide

Welcome! This post has been written with the intention of helping you plan an engaging and comprehensive Evolution unit for your middle school science class. If you’re arriving to this page from somewhere other than the Teachers Pay Teachers site, this is the product that this guide was written for. Here’s how I teach using these resources:

Note: Items are listed in the order in which they would be used. Lessons are not broken into specific “days” as many of us have vastly different timings per class period. 

  1. Natural Selection Presentation
    I’ve moved away form a lot of teacher focused instruction, but I can’t resist the urge to tell the story of Darwin’s journey on the HMS Beagle! I usually follow this lesson up with one of the several Youtube videos that cover this same journey.
  2. Evidence for Evolution Presentation
    This presentation covers the main evidences for evolution as described by the NGSS standards.
  3. Homologous, Analogous, and Vestigial Structures Practice
    Use these fun examples to examine the skeletal structures of several vertebrates. Are some ancient signs of evolution still present in their anatomy? It’s one of my best sellers!
  4. Punctuated Equilibrium Case Study
    Use this case study on tuskless elephants to discuss the possibility of rapid evolutionary change in a species. It’s happening in our world today as elephant populations become more and more tusk-free in the face of poaching pressure.
  5. Sub Plans: Darwin Awards
    A little morbid I must admit, but the kids love these hilarious Darwin awards. What’s the dumbest way to die?
  6. Darwin’s Theory Quiz
    A quick formative quiz to check for understanding.
  7. Inquiry Based Online Evolution Lab
    I absolutely love this lab. It covers fossil evidence of evolution and also vestigial structures. I’ve used it for several years to teach evolution in an inquiry based way, and also to reinforce the practices of scientists. Last year I even extended this portion of our unit and had the students write a formal lab report.

This product is designed to be affordable and useful to teachers in middle school science. Help me serve you and others through this bundle (or the creation of new resources) by leaving feedback. My work is meaningful when it takes some of the stress off of YOU.

Other Useful Link for your Evolution Unit:

  • Learn.Genetics – This site is absolutely stuffed full of awesome resources. It includes interactives and FREE downloadable lessons. You’ll have to spend time searching through it yourself. I can’t believe I’ve been teaching for 8 years and just found these guys. I highly recommend them!

Teaching is a weird job. I’d love to connect and discuss our successes and failures on my instagram (@laney.leee).  Please reach out and ask me anything.

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