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In this advanced 4-lesson curriculum unit, students examine evidence to compare four different explanations for why many malarial parasites are resistant to antimalarial drugs; investigate how scientific arguments using G6PD data show support for natural selection in humans; design an investigation using a simulation based on the Hardy-Weinberg principle to explore mechanisms of evolution; and apply their understanding to other alleles that have evolved in response to malaria.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
7 50-minute class periods
These lessons were designed for AP biology. A condensed lesson sequence is available.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Evolution results from selection acting upon genetic variation within a population. (LS4.B)
- Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations. (LS4.B, LS4.C)
- Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's survival and reproduction. (LS4.B, LS4.C)
- The amount of genetic variation within a population may affect the likelihood of survival of the population; the less the available diversity, the less likely the population will be able to survive environmental change.
- Natural selection acts on the variation that exists in a population. (LS4.B, LS4.C)
- Natural selection acts on phenotype as an expression of genotype.
- Populations, not individuals, evolve.
- Over time, the proportion of individuals with advantageous characteristics may increase (and the proportion with disadvantageous characteristics may decrease) due to their likelihood of surviving and reproducing. (LS4.B, LS4.C)
- Evolution results from genetic drift acting upon genetic variation within a population.
- A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7)
- Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (P6, NOS2)
- Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data. (P2, P3, P4, NOS1)
- As with other scientific disciplines, evolutionary biology has applications that factor into everyday life.
- There is variation within a population. (LS3.B)
- Natural selection is dependent on environmental conditions.
- Evolution occurs through multiple mechanisms.