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Lesson Plans

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Below are well-vetted lesson plans dealing with human evolution by other organizations (including the Understanding Evolution website, ENSIWEB, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Academy of Sciences

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Alike but Not the Same (Grades 9-12)

Students conduct a classwide inventory of human traits, construct histograms of the data they collect, and play a brief game that introduces students to major concepts related to human genetic variation and the notion of each individual's uniqueness.

Comparison of Human and Chimp Chromosomes (Grades 9-12)

Students observe that the banding patterns seen on stained chromosomes from humans and chimpanzees show striking similarities. Possible evolutionary relationships are explored, as are the chromosomes and relationships of other apes.

Hominid Cranial Comparison: The "Skulls" Lab (Grades 9-12)

Students describe, measure and compare cranial casts from contemporary apes, modern humans, and fossil hominids to discover some of the similarities and differences between these forms and to see the pattern leading to modern humans.

Nuts and bolts classification: Arbitrary or not? (Grades 6-8)

Students work in teams, classify furniture, share categories/rationales, and note how their different schemes are logical and useful, but vary and are completely arbitrary. They then see how living organisms are classified and note how these natural groupings reflect the same ancestral relationships in the same nested hierarchies. The concept is exemplified using primate phylogenetic trees.