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Lesson Plans

Evolution: Its Effect Throughout Geological Time and the Controversy
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Students review the basics of Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution. They study the Scopes "Monkey Trial" of 1925 in order to learn about the early controversy caused by the theory. They use the World Wide Web to explore the various stages of evolution, over geologic time, of organisms such as invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Students create a flow chart illustrating how life evolved from the simplest organisms to those that exist today, showing each geologic period, the organisms that appeared in it, and how each organism fits into the evolutionary story.

Grade Level:


Subject Matter:

Science, Social Studies

Curricular Uses:

Science: Evolution, Geologic Time Periods, Species Categories
Social Studies: United States History

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Understand the basics of Darwin's Theory of Evolution.
  • Understand some of the early controversy associated with teaching evolution.
  • Identify the different periods of geologic time.
  • Understand the stages of evolution of several organisms over geological time.

Use of Internet: The Internet is used in this lesson to conduct Web research.

This lesson was developed by an NTTI Master Teacher, and was funded by the Louis Calder Foundation.