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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

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Teaching materials database

Found 41 resources for the concept: Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry

Discovering the great tree of life
This short video introduces basic concepts in phylogenetics and provides a model to help understand lineage-splitting.
This resource is available from the Peabody Museum of Natural History

Audience: 9-12

Source: Peabody Museum of Natural History

Resource type: Video

Evolutionary trees and patterns in the history of life
Scientists use many different lines of evidence to reconstruct the evolutionary trees that show how species are related.
This article is located within Evolution 101.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Tutorial

From soup to cells - The origin of life
Delve into our current understandings of the origins of life and how scientists are able to investigate the details of such ancient events.
This article is located within Evolution 101.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Tutorial

Interview: Nicole King on the origins of multicellularity
Biologist and UC Berkeley Professor Nicole King explains how she investigates a major transition in evolutionary history: the evolution of multicellular life forms from unicellular ones.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ActionBioscience.org

Resource type: Interview with Scientist

Learn about the tree of life
This tutorial on phylogenetics explains the basics of tree-thinking and provides many examples from real organisms.
This resource is available from the Peabody Museum of Natural History

Audience: 9-12

Source: Peabody Museum of Natural History

Resource type: Tutorial

Species, speciation and the environment
Niles Eldredge gives a historical overview of scientists' thinking on the process of speciation, along with modern perspectives on this issue.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ActionBioscience.org

Resource type: Article

The Evolution of Flight in Birds
This interactive module examines evidence from the fossil record, behavior, biomechanics and cladistic analysis to interpret the sequence of events that led to flight in the dinosaur lineage.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

Webcast: Endless forms most beautiful
In lecture one of a four part series, evolutionary biologist Sean Carroll discusses Darwin and his two most important ideas: natural selection and common ancestry.
This lecture is available from Howard Hughes' BioInteractive website.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Resource type: Video Lecture

Webcast: The science of evolution
Evolutionary biologist Sean Carroll introduces the field of Evo-Devo, using examples from fruit flies, butterflies, and icefish to explain how this research is transforming our understanding of evolution.
This video is available from the New York Times website.

Audience: 9-12

Source: New York Times

Resource type: Video

Solving the Mystery of the Neandertals
An interactive and engaging web activity that compares the number of mutations in the mitochondrial genomes to determine ancestry and relatedness.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Dolan DNA Learning Center

Resource type: Online activity or lab

Understanding Macroevolution Through Evograms
Evograms convey information about how a group of organisms and their particular features evolved. This article explains how to read evograms and delves into the evolutionary history of whales, tetrapods, mammals, birds, and humans.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

Relevance of evolution: Agriculture
Explore just a few of the many cases in which evolutionary theory helps us secure and improve the world's crops. Genetic diversity, disease resistance and pest control are highlighted.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

Speciation: The basics
Figuring out what species are is not as easy as one might think. Find out how biologists define species and how new species evolve.
This article is located within Evolution 101.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Tutorial

Interactive investigation: The arthropod story
This interactive investigation delves into the amazing world of the arthropods and examines their success and their evolutionary constraints.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

Chromosome Comparison 2: Comparison of Human and Chimp Chromosomes
Students observe that the banding patterns seen on stained chromosomes from humans and chimpanzees show striking similarities. Possible evolutionary relationships are explored, as are the chromosomes and relationships of other apes.

Audience: 9-12

Source: ENSI

Resource type: Lab activity

An antipodal mystery
The discovery of the platypus had the scientific world in an uproar with its mammal-like and bird-like features. How was one to classify the platypus? This case study uses this issue to model the scientific process, with scientists arguing, debating, collecting more evidence, and revising their opinions as new data become available.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Herreid, Clyde Freeman

Resource type: Classroom activity

Evo in the news: One small fossil, one giant step for polar bear evolution
This news brief from April 2010 describes what scientists have learned by extracting DNA from a polar bear fossil more than 100,000 years old. Though the fossil itself was just a fragment of the skeleton—the lower left portion of the jaw, still containing a tooth—the DNA had a lot to say about polar bear evolution.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

Evo in the news: A fish of a different color
This news brief, from February 2006, describes how a mutated zebrafish gene may help us understand human evolution and the genes underlying human skin color. Humans and zebrafish both inherited the same pigmentation gene from their common ancestor.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

Evo in the news: What has the head of a crocodile and the gills of a fish?
This news brief, from May 2006, reviews what is likely to be the most important fossil find of the year: Tiktaalik helps us understand how our own ancestors crawled out of the water and began to walk on dry land.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

Evo in the news: More than morphology
This news brief, from August 2006, describes recent research on T. rex, with a special focus on how paleontologists move beyond the shape of the animal's bones to learn about aspects of its life that don't fossilize very well: its physiology, sensory abilities, and population dynamics.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

Evo in the news: Seeing the tree for the twigs
Recent research has revealed that, in at least some ways, chimpanzees have evolved more than humans have. This news brief from May 2007 delves into this finding further and, in the process, debunks common misperceptions of human evolution.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

Evo in the news: When it comes to evolution, headlines often get it wrong
Newly discovered fossils are prompting some scientists to consider a minor revision of the relationships shown on the human family tree. This news brief from September 2007 clarifies the occasionally misleading news coverage of the story.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

Evo in the news: The new shrew that's not
This news brief from March of 2008 describes scientists' discovery of a new mammal species, a giant elephant shrew. Though elephant shrews resemble regular shrews, recent genetic evidence suggests that elephant shrews actually sprang from a much older (and perhaps more charismatic) branch of the tree of life - the one belonging to elephants and their relatives.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

Evo in the news: Happy 200th, Darwin!
This news brief, from February 2009, celebrates Darwin's bicentennial by examining what we've learned about the evolution of the Galapagos finches since Darwin's time.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

Evo in the news: Tough conservation choices? Ask evolution
The earth is facing a biodiversity crisis. Nearly 50% of animal and plant species could disappear within our lifetime. To stem this rapid loss of biodiversity, we'll need to act quickly -- but where should we begin? This news brief, from December 2008, explains how evolutionary history can help us set conservation priorities.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

Evo in the news: Making sense of ancient hominin DNA
In March 2010 German researchers announced that they had managed to extract DNA from the 40,000 year old fossil bone from a child discovered in a Siberian cave and that it didn't match up to the known genetic sequences of either humans or Neanderthals! This news brief examines the evidence in more detail and considers what that evidence might — or might not — mean about such claims.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

Classification and Evolution
Students construct an evolutionary tree of imaginary animals (Caminalcules) to illustrate how modern classification schemes attempt to reflect evolutionary history.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Gendron, Robert

Resource type: Lab activity

Investigating Common Descent: Formulating Explanations and Models
Students formulate explanations and models that simulate structural and biochemical data as they investigate the misconception that humans evolved from apes.

Audience: 9-12

Source: National Academy of Sciences

Resource type: Classroom activity

The genes that lie beneath: The work of Leslea Hlusko
Evolutionary biologist Leslea Hlusko’s research takes her from the deserts of Ethiopia, where she hunts for hominid and primate fossils, to a baboon colony in San Antonio where she takes thousands of measurements of the primates' imposing canines. This research profile describes how the two projects are linked by a hunt for genetic variation, a key component of natural selection.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

It takes teamwork: How endosymbiosis changed life on Earth
You might be surprised to learn that descendents of an ancient bacterium are living in every cell of your body! Find out how endosymbiosis factored into the evolution of your own cells and learn about a modern example of this process.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

A name by any other tree
Phylogenetics has affected almost every area of biology - even the most basic one: how we classify organisms. Find out how phylogenetic classification works and what its advantages are.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Evolution: Education and Outreach

Resource type: Article

Darwin's "extreme" imperfection?
Darwin used the words "extreme imperfection" to describe the gappy nature of the fossil record - but is this really such a problem? This article delves into the topic of transitional fossils and explores what we have learned about them since Darwin's time.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Evolution: Education and Outreach

Resource type: Article

Evo in the news: The evidence lines up in early mammal evolution
This news brief, from September 2011, describes the discovery of a new mammal species that highlights just how long mammals have been around. Back in the Jurassic, dinosaurs may have dominated terrestrial ecosystems, but they were not alone. Scurrying around their feet and clinging to the trees above them were the fuzzy ancestors of their successors.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

Webcast: Fossils, genes, and embryos
In lecture three of a four part series, evolutionary biologist David Kingsley examines the original objections to Darwin's theory and shows how modern evidence supports the theory.
This lecture is available from Howard Hughes' BioInteractive website.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Resource type: Video Lecture

Evolutionary trees from the tabloids and beyond
This article describes practical applications of phylogenetics, focusing on intriguing cases ripe for deployment in classrooms--like using phylogenetics to investigate crimes.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Audience: 9-12

Source: Evolution: Education and Outreach

Resource type: Article

Tree thinking basics
Tree thinking, or phylogenetics, is an important way of understanding evolutionary relationships. Reading trees correctly can pose some challenges. This video introduces the basics of three reading and addresses common problems in tree reading.
This resource is available from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center

Audience: 9-12

Source: National Evolutionary Synthesis Center

Resource type: Video

CSI: Olduvai Gorge. The work of Jackson Njau
This research profile follows paleoanthropologist Jackson Njau as he investigates ancient predators, like crocodiles and large cats, in an effort to understand how these organisms shaped the evolution of our human ancestors.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

¿Decisiones de conservación difíciles? Pregúntale a la evolución
¿Si tu casa se incendiara, que es lo que te llevarías cuando estés huyendo? La decisión puede ser difícil entre juguetes de niños, álbumes de fotos y documentos importantes compitiendo por tu atención. Desafortunadamente, nos enfrentamos con una decisión difícil cuando tenemos que definir nuestros esfuerzos de conservación. Las actividades humanas podrían estar desencadenado la sexta extinción masiva de la Tierra...

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

¡Feliz cumpleaños número 200, Darwin!
Este 12 de febrero se cumplirían 200 años del nacimiento de Charles Darwin, y todo el mundo esta invitado a la fiesta. Numerosos grupos alrededor del mundo — desde niños en las escuelas primarias, hasta museos e iglesias — celebraran la ciencia de la evolución con conferencias públicas, clases, obras teatrales, exhibiciones artísticas y muchísimas galletas con forma de tortugas. 'Evolución en las noticias' de este mes contribuye a la celebración mediante la revisión de un tema cercano y querido por Darwin: los pinzones de Galápagos...

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

Evo in the news: No more mystery meat
This news brief from April 2013 describes new research on the origin of American cattle breeds. The story told by the cows' genes crisscrosses the trajectory of human evolutionary history — from wild aurochs that lived alongside Neanderthals, to Christopher Columbus and, ultimately, the American West …

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

Evo in the news: A new old animal
A new species of velvet worm was recently discovered in Vietnam. This news brief from September 2013 describes the key position of velvet worms in evolutionary history and how they help us better understand the fossil record of the Cambrian period.

Audience: 9-12

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

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