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MUSE | Natural Selection | Unit Overview and Materials | Section 3: Using Darwin's Model... | 3A: Developing a Darwinian Explanation


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Lesson 3A: Developing a Darwinian Explanation

During this lesson, students will be asked to take their understanding of Darwin's model of natural selection and begin to think about how it can be used to explain natural phenomena. The goal of this lesson is for students to work with the teacher to develop a format for explanations using Darwin's model. They will do this by first attempting individually to explain the case of lizard camouflage to provide a concrete example from which to work. Next, they will work within their groups to compile an explanation based on all of their work and finally they will be asked to develop a set of criteria for acceptable explanations.

Successful completion of this material includes:

  • Writing a Darwinian explanation for lizard camouflage as a homework assignment
  • Working together as a group to compile a group explanation based on each member's work
  • Working with their group to develop a set of criteria for an acceptable and complete Darwinian explanation
  • Participating in a class discussion of the criteria


Each individual student will develop a Darwinian explanation and each group will write a complete explanation and a list of criteria for a good explanation.