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Towson University

Department of Secondary Education


Lesson Plan Template
Name: Zachary McCormic

Date:

Brief Class Description (contextual information including number of students, subject, level,
IEP/ELL/GT or other special considerations): Approximately 21 9th grade biology students,
mixed gender. No IEPs or special considerations needed. Majority are on GT track.

Unit: Evolution
Lesson Topic: Day 1 Survival of the Fittest
Prior Knowledge (How do you know the students are ready for this lesson?): This is the first
lesson in the unit. May have carry-over from middle school

Alignment:
Standard (State
{CCRS/Other} and
Professional
Organization Content
Standard)
NGSS HS-LS4-3
(Apply concepts of
statistics and
probability to support
explanations that
organisms with an
advantageous
heritable trait tend to
increase in proportion
to organisms lacking
this trait), HS-LS4-4
(Construct an
explanation based on
evidence for how
natural selection leads
to an adaptation of
populations) and HSLS4-5 (Evaluate the
evidence supporting
claims that changes in
environmental
conditions may result
in: (1) increases in

Objective

Assessment

Activity(ies)

The student will be


able to define natural
selection and describe
how it can influence a
population.

Worksheet packet
Exit ticket

-Warm-up with
Think-Pair-Share
-Nowhere to Hide
simulation
-BrainPop and
Vocabulary
-Bird Beak Gizmo
-Discussion and Exit
Titcket

the number of
individuals of some
species, (2) the
emergence of new
species over time, (3)
the extinction of other
species.

Materials Needed: Powerpoint, handout packet, internet connection, room


computers
Technology Integration/Needs: Room computers are needed
Lesson Procedure:
Opening Activity (describe your warm-up/engagement/hook/motivation): Warm-up will
be on overhead. Students will write in their notebook the following questions and their
responses: In your own words, define evolution. Can you provide an example of evolution?
After 2 minutes for writing questions and answers, students will pair with a partner (one who
shares the same desk; one group will be of 3) and discuss what they thought for 1 minutes. I will
ask students to share what they talked about with their partner in order to get conversation
about the topic going. Emphasis will be placed on any examples students can provide of
evolution in real life.
Time Allotted: 5 minutes
Adaptations (for IEP, ELL, culture, and other special needs): NA
Transition (explicitly linking concepts/activities/objectives): After discussion, go
over objective, then transition to picture of Evolution of a Unicyclist will be used to introduce
the idea of evolution in a funny way. Here is an artists joke on evolution, how the unicycle
rider starts with the scooter and moves all the way up to the 12 foot unicycle, and eventually falls
and breaks their leg. Now this isnt accurate, but is a good idea to kind of break the ice of what
evolution is. Lets start with the scientist to whom the field of evolution is attributed to, Charles
Darwin. We will go in to a brief history to build background knowledge.
Activity 1 (describe activity): Brief background on Charles Darwin and his work on
Natural Selection. Students will fill out worksheet as lecture goes on, with prompts to fill in
where Darwin went, why he went and how he got there. (Powerpoint 2-3 slides)
Time Allotted: 5 minutes
Adaptations: NA
Transition: Intro to Nowhere to Hide
(http://sciencenetlinks.com/media/filer/2011/10/07/evolution.swf) interactive. Lets see
a simulation of evolution in a real-word scenario.

Activity 2 (describe activity): Nowhere to Hide interactive. We are going to study bugs.
Orange and Green ones to be exact. There is a factory giving off pollution that causes the
normally green leaves on trees to turn orange. Class, what do you think will happen to the bugs if
pollution levels stay low? Wait for responses, then open the interactive (I recommend staying
on the How to page until you are ready to run the simulation). Refresh page, and go back to the
How to page, then to Class, what do you think will happen if the factory gives of high levels of
pollution? Wait for responses, then go back and slide bar to polluted side (right), and run
simulation again. Be sure to mark all of this on your worksheet.
Time Allotted: 10 minutes
Adaptations: NA
Transition: After the second run, discuss with class. Did what you thought
would happen, happen? Why do you think the green bugs did better on the green leaves than the
orange ones? What about once the leaves began to turn orange? Does anyone know the term for
when something blends in with its surroundings? Once 3-4 answers have been given, start
BrainPop on Natural Selection.
Activity 3 (describe activity): After BrainPop, we have started to work on some terms.
Here we will fill in more of the worksheet with vocabulary terms needed to establish background
knowledge to build upon: Natural Selection, Survival of the Fittest, Adaptations, Variations, and
Environmental Pressures (lecture off powerpoint). Use examples from green and orange bug lab
to reinforce terms. (Powerpoint 5 slides with pictures of examples)
Time Allotted: 10 minutes
Adaptations: NA
Transition: Now that we have discussed terms, lets try a little practice on the
computer.
Activity 4 (describe activity): Rainfall and Bird Beaks Gizmo. Here you will be
adjusting the amount of rainfall and seeing how it effects the beak length in a population of birds.
You will be working in groups of 2-4 on the computers. Please go to the webpage listed on the
powerpoint, and run the simulation for both drought and wet conditions. I will be around the
room if you have any questions. You will have most of class to complete this, but we will be
regrouping during the last 5 minutes of class to discuss what you have found, and you will
receive your exit tickets at that time.
Time Allotted: 40 minutes
Adaptations: NA
Transition: With 15 minutes left in the class (between 10:15 and 10:20), I will
announce to the class 5 minutes left, please begin to wrap-up your simulations and put the
computers away.

Activity 5 (describe activity): Discussion. Lets talk what happened to the average bird
beak depth during the drought? What about during the rainy years? What do you think caused the
birds with the smaller beaks to do better in the wetter conditions than when it was dry? What
about birds with bigger beaks that allowed them to do better in dryer conditions than when it was
wet? Of the terms we discussed before the simulation, which do you think applies to what we
just did? Back to our objective Can you explain what natural selection is, and could you show
this using a similar scenario to our birds beaks demo? Now here is your exit ticket. I need this
before you leave today. Please put your name and class at the top, and answer the two questions.
Please turn in your handouts as well. I will grade these and get them back to you next class.
Time Allotted: 8 minutes
Adaptations: NA
Transition: Hand out exit ticket.
Additional Activity(ies) -- add as necessary with adaptations and transitions: NA
Closing Activity (summarize learning and/or revisit objective): Exit Ticket: 1. In your own
words, what is natural selection? 2. There are two types of grass. Jim grass, which has long roots
and grows in communities of 3-4 plants, and Dale grass, which has shallow roots and grows in
communities of over 20 plants. The longer root systems allow for Jim grass to draw water from
lower in the soil, but takes 3-4 weeks to grow to maturity. The Dale grass grows in large patches
and reaches maturity in 5 days. Which of the two grasses would be in a better position to survive
(circle one) A. During a drought and B. If a horse moved in and began eating large amounts of
grass (both grasses taste very good and are nutritious)?
Extension/Follow-up (homework, etc. optional): NA
Safety Valve (What will you have students do if you have time left in class?): Try
simulation for 5 years with drought, then 5 years with wet conditions. Try extremes as well (no
rain, multiple feet of rain for example). If we are way over, we will play a video on the people
who study these finches on the Galapagos Islands today.

After the Lesson:


Reflection (How did you adjust instruction based on student responses to your formative
assessments? What are the implications for future instruction?)

References:
Science Net Links: http://sciencenetlinks.com/esheets/nowhere-to-hide/