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    Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment. HS-LS4-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections


  • RST.11-12.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account. (HS-LS4-2)
  • SL.11-12.4 - Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks. (HS-LS4-2)
  • WHST.11-12.9 - Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. (HS-LS4-2)
  • WHST.9-12.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. (HS-LS4-2)


  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (HS-LS4-2)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (HS-LS4-2)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • This lesson from HHMI BioInteractive is based on the classic study of the evolution of fur color in rock pocket mouse populations. It supports the short film, “The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaptation.”  The creato ...

  •   This lesson is designed to accompany a short film by HHMI BioInteractive. In the film, Penn State University anthropologist Dr. Nina Jablonski discusses the evidence for the natural selection of human skin color. She describes how the pheno ...

  • Effects of Natural Selection on Finch Beak Size is one of a series of Data Point resources from HHMI Biointeractive.  Data Points engage students in analyzing and interpreting data from primary literature in the biological sciences.  The re ...

  • Schooling Behavior of Stickleback Fish from Different Habitats is one of a series of Data Point resources from HHMI Biointeractive.  Data Points engage students in analyzing and interpreting data from primary literature in the biological science ...

  • This interactive simulation allows students to explore natural selection in bunnies by controlling factors in the environment (equator or arctic environment), selection factors (wolves, food), and characteristics of the bunnies (fur color, tail lengt ...

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  • Students use an online simulation (https://www.biologysimulations.com/genetic-drift-founder-effect) to study a trait that increases mating success in males, but also increases the chances of being eaten by a predator.

  • In this minds-on, hands-on activity, students develop their understanding of natural selection by analyzing specific examples and carrying out a simulation. The questions in the first section introduce students to the basic process of natural selecti...

  • The Natural Selection virtual lab allows students the opportunity to investigate into how natural selection leads to the predominance of certain traits in a population, and the suppression of others. Therefore, through this virtual lab, students will...

  • The goal of the Diversity of Traits virtual lab is to allow students the opportunity to investigate how variations of traits can occur because of mutations. This virtual lab complements the Natural Selection virtual lab by addressing a common misconc...

  • In this analysis and discussion activity, students explore the main hypotheses about the origins of the new coronavirus that is causing the current pandemic. Students learn how mutations, natural selection, and contact between species can work togeth...

Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.