This list of conceptual understandings regarding evolution is aligned across grade levels to help instructors identify age-appropriate learning goals for their students and understand how concepts taught at one grade level lay the groundwork for more sophisticated concepts later on. Access a printable pdf version of this document. To search for teaching materials that address these concepts, visit the teaching guide for your grade level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, or Undergraduate.
The conceptual framework is aligned with the 2012 Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In the table below, conceptual alignment is indicated by a code that follows each aligned concept. For example, LS4.A indicates correspondence to the Life Sciences core idea “Evidence of common ancestry and diversity” from both the NGSS and the Framework for that grade level, P3 indicates correspondence to “Planning and carrying out investigations,” the third of eight Science and Engineering Practices listed in those documents, and NOS2 indicates correspondence to the second concept outlined in NGSS’s appendix on the nature of science, “Scientific knowledge is based on empirical evidence.” Read more about Understanding Evolution and the NGSS/Framework alignment.
The Understanding Evolution Framework is divided into five strands:
History of life | Evidence of evolution | Mechanisms of evolution | Nature of science | Studying evolution