Natural selection and evolution

At Key Stage Two, students will now be learning about "how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution."  However, it is worth assessing students' prior knowledge and misconceptions here as adaptation arises via natural selection, which  is not taught until Key Stage Three.  For example, a common misconception is that organisms can adapt to new conditions in their lifetimes and pass these adaptations on to their offspring.  Although students will have looked at fossils as evidence of evolution at Key Stage Two, they will not have looked at the mechanism for evolution.

Natural selection has moved from Key Stage Four to Key Stage Three and so it may be necessary to take the time to adapt resources previously aimed at Key Stage Four students so that they are more age appropriate. At Key Stage Three, students should learn that "the variation between species and between individuals of the same species means some organisms compete more successfully, which can drive natural selection."  

The list provides a range of activities, lesson ideas, film clips, background information, practical tips and suggested teaching strategies.

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Whilst this list provides a source of information and ideas for experimental work, it is important to note that recommendations can date very quickly. Do NOT follow suggestions which conflict with current advice from CLEAPSS, SSERC or recent safety guides. eLibrary users are responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is consistent with current regulations related to Health and Safety and that they carry an appropriate risk assessment. Further information is provided in our Health and Safety guidance.