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Lesson summary for:
Investigating Natural Selection


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Students experience one mechanism for evolution through a simulation that models the principles of natural selection and helps answer the question: How might biological change have occurred and been reinforced over time?

National Academy of Sciences

Grade level:

Three class periods.

Teaching tips:
After 3 generations, change cloth pattern under petri dish to something that makes dots easier to see, or harder to see. Use this to show that evolution doesn’t lead to one best solution, but responds to the environment.

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.

  • Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's survival and reproduction.

Teacher background:

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