The “Teaching Evolution through Human Examples” project is the product of three years of research and development by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) funded by the National Science Foundation. These robust tools for teaching evolution were created especially for AP Biology classes. They are also valuable in basic biology classes and as a professional update on teaching evolution. Its four teaching units draw on human biology to explain the central principles of evolution. Units focus on: Adaptation to Altitude; Malaria; Evolution of Human Skin Color; and What Does It Mean to Be Human? The materials also include a Cultural and Religious Sensitivity resource, which help teachers present the material in a comfortable and supportive way. All teaching resources are free and can be downloaded at: http://humanorigins.si.edu/education/teaching-evolution-through-human-examples.
The project home page offers a brief summary of each unit. The curriculum units contain 4-5 lessons designed to be taught over 5-9 days (depending on the unit, whether or not the “full” or “condensed” lessons are used, and whether or not optional steps are included). Each version has an accompanying PowerPoint file for teaching purposes and a student workbook where all student handouts are collated.
Want to start by discussing malaria? Click on “Malaria” and you’ll have a choice between Condensed or Full length teacher/student materials. Clicking on Condensed accesses a 50-slide PowerPoint show, a student workbook (30 pp.) and a teacher guide (61 pp.). Full length versions include 76 slides, 48 pp., and 86 pp. respectively. Whichever version you select, the resources are impressively rich in information, including attractive graphics and thought-provoking worksheets. All materials can be downloaded directly to your computer or to your Dropbox, then printed out for classroom use. It’s everything you’ll need for stimulating class discussions on how natural selection has contributed to human evolution!
“Teaching Evolution through Human Examples” was created over a three-year period by a group of professional scientists and educators. The inside cover of the teacher’s guide and the student manual recognizes the many contributors to this project. The resources include teaching strategies on cultural and religious sensitivity (CRS) for classrooms where you anticipate or know that your students may feel some trepidation about learning evolution. The curriculum units have been reviewed by teachers, educators, and scientists, were field tested, revised, and then tested again in 10 states. Whether evolution is one of your favorite teaching units or one that you approach with anxiety, this is an excellent resource that your AP students are sure to enjoy!
About the Creators:
“Teaching Evolution through Human Examples” and the website “What does it mean to be human?” were created by the Smithsonian’s NMNH as part of its Human Origins Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to “explore the universal human story at its broadest time scale,” seeking to stimulate research into how the human species came to be and what makes it unique.