I taught the evolution unit in SBI 3U through a series of simulations and paper labs where students examined evidence for evolution. The labs were:
1. Feeding Frenzy (self-generated)
2. Comparing Human and Chimp DNA (NSTA lab)
3. Antibiotic Resistance Simulation (NOVA simulation)
4. Evolution of Whales - Examining Fossils (self-generated)
5. Comparing Embryos (NOVA activity)
6. Examining Biogeographical Evidence (self-generated)
7. Examining Vertebrate Bones (self-generated)
8. Mimicry Presentations (self-generated)
Instead of the traditional order of lesson --> lab/activity --> test, the activities came before having a lesson. I have found over the last four years that an inquiry-based approach to teaching gives students a richer understanding of material that they get to explore before hearing about the topic from me.
After completing each simulation / paper lab class discussion was key to show the evolution concepts learned by examining evidence. After each simulation / paper lab a short note was written to summarize the findings and concepts from evolution that were learned.
Students really enjoyed this inquiry approach to examining evolution. Their test results were better at the end of the unit, especiallly for weaker students and those who tend to memorize material and not understand it.