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A No-Holds-Barred Evolution Curriculum for Elementary and Junior High School Students

Authors
  • Fail, Joseph Jr.1, 2
  • 1 Johnson C. Smith University, Department of Natural Sciences, Charlotte, NC, USA , Charlotte (United States)
  • 2 Duke University, Sabbatical Scholar, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, Durham, NC, USA , Durham (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Evolution: Education and Outreach
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Nov 21, 2007
Volume
1
Issue
1
Pages
56–64
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s12052-007-0018-3
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Understanding the basic mechanism of evolution by natural selection together with examples of how it works in nature is crucial for explaining and teaching the workings of biology and ecology to young students. Dobzhansky said it best in his advice to educators of biology: “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” This premise is true at all levels of biology but especially so in the elementary years where foundations of science knowledge are laid. Elementary students are capable of learning cohesive and connected stories of biological principles and learning them within a no-holds-barred arena wherein concepts and processes usually reserved for high school years are taught with special care, appropriate exercises, and patient explanations. This story must include solid introductions to the fundamental principles of evolution by natural selection that are threaded within and alongside those of basic biology and ecology. This paper attempts to make the case for the inclusion of connected stories of biology in the earliest years of education and to include within that education the unifying theme of all biology and ecology studies—evolution.

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