» Evolution


Labs in the Classroom There are many ways to bring NOVA Labs into your classroom, after school program, day camp, or other educational program. Every Lab presents a particular subject and allows teens to develop their own questions and investigations around that subject. Each Lab includes an activity where you will explore a new data set and/or scientific phenomenon. While the challenges will vary—some being more open-ended, others being more structured and game-like—they will all encourage users to conduct their own scientific analyses and investigations. Videos Each Lab comes with a collection of free videos that provide the background information that will help users succeed in the Lab’s research challenge. The concepts explored in these videos range from the basic to the more nuanced and complex. Together, they are intended to give users a solid foundation in the relevant scientific principles and an understanding of why each area of research matters. Opportunities and Resources For each Lab, we provide a list of related opportunities and career exploration resources relevant to teens. Teens will find internships, scholarship, science competitions, and other ways to stay involved in science on the “Opportunities” page. Community and Social Feed In addition to making new content and data available and accessible, NOVA Labs provides an online community on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, in which you can share, ask questions, or learn about recent observations or ideas that have come up in the various fields of research. An Educator Guide For each Lab, we provide additional ideas and materials for educators that are specific to that Lab and subject area. Read More

Ecological and Evolutionary Responses to Recent Climate Change

Ecological changes in the phenology and distribution of plants and animals are occurring in all well-studied marine, freshwater, and terrestrial groups. These observed changes are heavily biased in the directions predicted from global warming and have been linked to local or regional climate change through correlations between climate and biological variation, field and laboratory experiments, and physiological research. Range-restricted species, particularly polar and mountaintop species, show severe range contractions and have been the first groups in which entire species have gone extinct due to recent climate change. Tropical coral reefs and amphibians have been most negatively affected. Predator-prey and plant-insect interactions have been disrupted when interacting species have responded differently to warming. Evolutionary adaptations to warmer conditions have occurred in the interiors of species’ ranges, and resource use and dispersal have evolved rapidly at expanding range margins. Observed genetic shifts modulate local effects of climate change, but there is little evidence that they will mitigate negative effects at the species level. Read More

Essentials of Genetics (Nature Education: Scitable)

Why does a commercial dairy cow produce four times as much milk as most other mammals? Why do we look like our cousins? Why do roses come in so many different colors? The answers to these and other questions about the diversity of living things involve processes that occur at the level of genes. Essentials of Genetics is a brief guide through the core concepts of how genes are structured and how they drive biological diversity. This course can be used as a guide for introductory biology students, as a reference for advanced students, or as a self-guided exploration for general science enthusiasts. Topics covered include the nature of DNA and its relationship to the physical characteristics of organisms; the passage of DNA from organism to organism; and the variation of DNA within and across populations of organisms. Essentials of Genetics also connects these core concepts to the scientific process by discussing the key tools used to study DNA in the laboratory. Alongside each concept are links to biographies of scientists who made major contributions to the field, as well as to a broad set of detailed readings on advanced topics in modern genetics. Finally, Essentials of Genetics combines its descriptions of various core concepts with high-quality video animations of molecular processes to stimulate an intuitive physical understanding of genetics. Read More

Genetic Variation and Evolution (Nature Education: Scitable)

Genetic variation is the substrate of evolution. Examining the genetic differences between individuals of the same species, as well as comparing the genomes of different species, can tell us a great deal about the relationships between organisms. Read More

Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior (Yale Open Course)

This course presents the principles of evolution, ecology, and behavior for students beginning their study of biology and of the environment. It discusses major ideas and results in a manner accessible to all Yale College undergraduates. Recent advances have energized these fields with results that have implications well beyond their boundaries: ideas, mechanisms, and processes that should form part of the toolkit of all biologists and educated citizens. Read More

Evolution and Medicine (NIH Curriculum Supplement)

Students explore evolutionary principles and learn how evolution informs human health, biomedical problems, and disease treatment. The supplement contains two weeks of lessons that are easily integrated into your curriculum and are aligned to national and state standards. Read More

Evolution: Student Guide

Resources for high school biology students on evolution. Library includes videos, case studies, lessons, and activities for projects and independent study. Read More

Evolution: Educators Guide

An online course for teachers in how to teach evolution. Course includes videos, case studies, and activities. Read More

Evolution Resources

A balanced perspective on the science and religious views of evolution. Educational books, reports, articles, research papers, statements, and web resources on evolution, covering science, religion, legal, and business issues. Some require purchase, others are free to download. Read More

Middle School Meets Evolution

This free, standards-based, online publication, developed for middle school science teachers, explores evolution. Your middle school students, who in elementary school considered life science from an individual organism perspective, are beginning to think about interactions in ecosystems. In high school, they will broaden their biological perspective to include both smaller and larger realms, considering everything from biochemical processes to living systems in the biosphere. Now is a perfect time to help your students get a firm grounding in the basics of evolution so that they will be prepared to tackle more abstract concepts in high school, such as population genetics and evolution as a basis for biological classification. The scientific habits of mind that they develop as they study evolution will support all of their future scientific endeavors. Read More


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EERL is a product of a community college-based National Science Foundation Center, the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC), and its partners.

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