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So You Think the World Evolves Around You?

Cindy Jackson
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
Four 45- minute periods for lesson; one week for student-generated video project


A super continent, Pangaea, began to break apart into the modern continents about 260 million years ago, causing the isolation (and separate evolution) of various groups of organisms from each other. Since this event, the living species inhabiting these separate continents have progressively changed. Organisms have learned to adapt through hiding, camouflaging and mimicking other organisms’ efforts to outfox potential predators seeking their next meal. Many of these changes can be attributed to the concept of evolution which includes physical as well as behavioral changes.

Using video and Internet resources, students will be able to gain a clearer understanding of evolution by examining its effects as evidenced in amazing adaptations and unusual biodiversity in some of the most remote areas of this world. More importantly, students will learn the secrets of how these organisms find ways to survive. In addition, students will create digital video projects of their own to demonstrate their knowledge, illustrating common evolution in their own world.

Major corporate support is provided by Canon U.S.A., Inc. and Ford.

Subject Matter


Learning Activities

Students will be able to:
  • Define evolution and its relative impact on the perpetuation of species;
  • State various ways in which organisms adapt in order to survive;
  • Discover new forms of biodiversity found in various remote regions of the world; Clearly define such terms as Pangaea, mimicry, adaptations, natural and sexual
  • selection, analogous structures, convergent evolution and speciation;
  • Utilize video, Internet and print resources to research information;
  • Work collaboratively to produce a presentation, video or other product.

From the National Science Education Standards for Grades 9-12, available online at:

CONTENT STANDARD C: As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of:
    Biological evolution
    Interdependence of organisms
    Matter, energy, and organization in living systems
    Behavior of organisms

CONTENT STANDARD D: As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop an understanding
    Origin and evolution of the universe

CONTENT STANDARD E: As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop
    Abilities of technological design
    Understandings about science and technology

Media Components


Nature #2210 "Deep Jungle" Part I - New Frontiers

Web sites:

Darwin’s Moth

The Web site provides further insight to how unique this organism is in the jungle of Madagascar.

Various marine organisms hide through unique blending with their underwater environments.

Using light sources within their bodies, fishes manage to find shelter and food in the darkest parts of the ocean.

Despite their small size, these organisms use clever mechanisms to wart off predators.

Evolution of the Peppered Moth (The English Moth, Biston betularia)
This is a useful simulation game to illustrate how the peppered moth changed over time due to environmental alterations.

Evolution- The basics
Difficulties with the concept of evolution can be assisted with this straight-forward, informative Web site.

Camouflage Game

The goal of the game is to utilize the characteristics about the fish to place them in the proper area of the ocean to maximize survival.

Watch the position of the continents change over a period of 200,000,000 years to the current date.

Continental Shuffle
Students can rearrange the continents as they once existed at one time. Materials


For the class:

  • Digital Video camera, at least one per class or more per cooperative groups of students (4-5 students/ group)
  • Video editing software iMovie, Apple (Mac)
  • MovieMaker, Microsoft (PC)
  • Optional: tripod, wireless microphone(s)

For each video production team (4-5 students):

For each student: