I like to start off Unit 4 with a simple exercise. Students take seven common statements about evolution and try to classify them as either true of false. Then we go through a PowerPoint (posted below) and correct their answers, without going into too much detail.
- Evolution is “just a theory.” False. Evolution is a theory in the same way that the theory of gravity is a theory; it is a widely accepted explanation for scientific observations.
- Evolution explains how humans evolved from gorillas. False. Humans evolved from some sort of ancient forest ape, not any modern-day animal.
- Evolution is incompatible with religion. False. Even the Catholic Pope has softened his stance on evolution in recent years.
- Evolution is not science because it’s not observable or testable. False. We have observed evolution happen in bacteria, elephants, etc.
- Evolution involves organisms trying to adapt. False. Evolution happens naturally, not because of the desires of any plant or animal.
- Evolution happens during an animal’s lifespan. False. Evolution occurs over generations, sometimes taking millions of years.
- Evolution explains how life began on Earth. False. Evolution is an explanation for how life changes, not how life began. The beginnings of life are still a mystery.
Did you catch on yet? I’m hoping the students did. The seven statements above are really “common misconceptions about evolution.” All of them are false. And although they are complicated, my hope is that by the end of Unit 4, my students will be able to explain every one of them!
January 1 – Intro to Evolution (pg400).pptx