SC.7.L.15.2

Explore the scientific theory of evolution by recognizing and explaining ways in which genetic variation and environmental factors contribute to evolution by natural selection and diversity of organisms.
General Information
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 7
Body of Knowledge: Life Science
Idea: Level 3: Strategic Thinking & Complex Reasoning
Big Idea: Diversity and Evolution of Living Organisms -

A. The scientific theory of evolution is the organizing principle of life science.

B. The scientific theory of evolution is supported by multiple forms of evidence.

C. Natural Selection is a primary mechanism leading to change over time in organisms.

Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Date of Last Rating: 05/08
Status: State Board Approved
Assessed: Yes
Test Item Specifications
  • Item Type(s): This benchmark may be assessed using: MC item(s)
  • Also Assesses
    SC.7.L.15.1 Recognize that fossil evidence is consistent with the scientific theory of evolution that living things evolved from earlier species.

    SC.7.L.15.3 Explore the scientific theory of evolution by relating how the inability of a species to adapt within a changing environment may contribute to the extinction of that species.

  • Clarification :
    Students will identify and/or explain ways in which genetic variation and environmental factors contribute to evolution by natural selection and diversity of organisms.

    Students will identify and/or explain ways in which fossil evidence is consistent with the scientific theory of evolution.

    Students will identify and/or explain how a species’ inability to adapt may contribute to the extinction of that species.
  • Content Limits :
    Items will not address topics such as speciation, genetic drift, or gene pools.

    Items will not assess or address hominid evolution or primate fossils.

    Items assessing fossil evidence should focus on progressions over time/evolution from earlier species and/or the idea that not all species alive today were alive in the past.

    Items will not assess fossils in the context of relative dating or plate tectonics/continental movement.
  • Stimulus Attributes :
    None specified
  • Response Attributes :
    None specified
  • Prior Knowledge :
    Items may require the student to apply science knowledge described in the NGSSS from lower grades. This benchmark requires prerequisite knowledge from SC.5.L.15.1 and SC.5.L.17.1.
Sample Test Items (1)
  • Test Item #: Sample Item 1
  • Question: A certain reptile species is a herbivore and exists only on an isolated island. Which of the following would most likely result in the extinction of the reptile species over a period of twenty thousand years?
  • Difficulty: N/A
  • Type: MC: Multiple Choice

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
2002070: M/J Comprehensive Science 2 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002080: M/J Comprehensive Science 2, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000010: M/J Life Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000020: M/J Life Science, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
7820016: Access M/J Comprehensive Science 2 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
2002085: M/J Comprehensive Science 2 Accelerated Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
7920040: Fundamental Integrated Science 3 (Specifically in versions: 2013 - 2015, 2015 - 2017 (course terminated))
2000025: M/J STEM Life Science (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
SC.7.L.15.In.2: Recognize that physical characteristics of living things are adapted to deal with the conditions of the environment, such as skin color or gills on a fish.
SC.7.L.15.Su.2: Recognize that common plants or animals have special features that enable them to live in their environment, such as a as a fish has gills so it can live underwater.
SC.7.L.15.Pa.2: Recognize a personal characteristic, such as hair color, that is different from the parents.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Assessment

Performance Task for a Unit on evolution:

Complete a brochure for the Galapagos Islands. The purpose of your brochure is to attract tourists to the island in order to support research and preservation of the island and its many natural resources.

Type: Assessment

Lesson Plans

Reconstructing Reptile Relationships - A Mesozoic Muddle:

In this Model Eliciting Activity (MEA), students will attempt to identify, draw, and describe evolutionary relationships between a collection of reptiles that lived during the Mesozoic Era and that shared a common reptilian ancestor that lived earlier - in the Paleozoic Era.  The students will receive images of and facts about each of the reptiles, and will use those images and facts to prepare a cladogram – a tree-shaped diagram illustrating their hypotheses about those evolutionary relationships based on shared derived traits – and describe each of the branch points on the tree they construct.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Evolution in the City:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. This article describes new research suggesting urban life creates evolutionary changes in plants and animals. Examples of changes to an urban growing plant (the white clover) and a Leapin' Lizard are described as they evolve to suit their new environment. This lesson includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

SYMBIOSIS - Episode 3: Inside the Pea Aphid (Dr. Alex Wilson's Amazing Pea Aphids!):

Dr. Alex Wilson of the University of Miami is an evolutionary biologist whose research centers on symbiotic relationships. In this short animated film, she explains exactly how the bacteria aids the aphid. The film explores how scientists use what they learn to seek evolutionary patterns in nature. "" from Day's Edge Productions on Vimeo is the third of four films created with funding from the National Science Foundation. This lesson, which includes a pre-test, slide presentation, activity, and formative assessment was developed to support the learning concepts provided by Dr. Wilson's films.

Type: Lesson Plan

Fish with a See-Through Head:

Students read an interesting article about a fish with a see-through head to help them think about traits that are beneficial in a certain environment (adaptation). They also consider how improved observations lead to more sophisticated science ideas.

Type: Lesson Plan

Kingsnakes: Can Genetic Variation be Advantageous in Changing Environments? :

This role-playing activity will visually show students how genetic variation and environmental factors contribute to evolution by natural selection and diversity of organisms. During this activity, students will represent the alleles themselves! Students will "mate" to create various genotypes and phenotypes through an engaging, fun, and content-enriched activity. Students will use scientific and mathematical skills to complete and draw conclusions.

Type: Lesson Plan

Natural Selection on Beach Mice:

In this lesson, students simulate the process of natural selection and its effects on prey phenotype frequencies over multiple generations. Students are provided with four background patterns and many prey pieces in four corresponding patterns. In this way, each prey type is well-camouflaged for one corresponding background, but is less suited to the others in varying degrees. Following several rounds of natural selection simulation, students compare prey phenotype frequencies to those frequencies found using random selection.

Type: Lesson Plan

Bird Feet: What do they mean?:

This lesson is designed to help students to explore Natural Selection by the adaptation of bird feet to their habitat and food choices.

Type: Lesson Plan

Attack of the Moth Eaters:

This is an introductory lesson that enables students to explore camouflage as an adaptation that enables organisms to escape predation. Students decorate moths and place them around the classroom to hide them from the moth eater birds. Students then get the opportunity to be the birds and search for moths hidden by their classmates. This lesson lets students explore adaptations that help the moths survive in their environment.

Type: Lesson Plan

5E Natural Selection Module:

This resource uses a variety of techniques to address the factors that contribute to natural selection. Included in the lesson is a hook to engage students, a weblab exercise, a poster activity for expression and a hands-on simulation.

Type: Lesson Plan

Exploring the Theory of Evolution:

The 5E lesson addresses the theory of evolution beginning with Darwin's travels and observations. The lesson builds on the evidence and observations of Darwin by teaching how genetic variation and environmental factors affect evolution. This is then related to the ability or inability of a species to adapt with in a changing environment.

Type: Lesson Plan

Florida Birds: Who has the Best Beak?:

In this lesson, students will recognize and explain ways an organism can be affected by genetics, environmental factors and relate how an organism can be in danger of extinction if it cannot adapt to its environment.

The teacher implements a variety of instructional components:

  • Students read two e! Science News articles (can read online if internet accessible or the teacher can make copies for class ahead of time) on bird adaptations.
  • Students then research a Florida coastal bird from a list provided in the lesson to create a "Vote for Me" poster. With this, students summarize their research and information gathered on a Florida coastal bird and try to convince their classmates that their bird's beak is the "best."
  • Students will engage in the Battle of the Beaks hands-on activity using everyday items to simulate different bird beaks.
  • Finally, students will write a response to "Who has the best beak?" using references from the science news articles, the poster presentations, and their research (website links in lesson)

Type: Lesson Plan

Bird Buffet (Animal Survival):

Students learn that an animal's physical attributes, such as a bird's beak, may provide an advantage for survival in one environment but not in another. Students will participate in modeling and investigating structure and function relationships.

Type: Lesson Plan

Breeding Bunnies and Flashy Fish:

Students will see how evolution works with a simulated breeding bunnies lab using red and white beans, one representing dominant alleles and the other recessive alleles. This lesson can be used in sixth grade with some minor modifications of the directions and the data being recorded.

Type: Lesson Plan

Lesson Study Resource Kit

Exploring Diversity and Evolution grades 6-8:

This toolkit is designed to assist lesson study teams as they work to develop a unit on natural selection that conforms to the state academic standards for science mathematics and English language arts.

Type: Lesson Study Resource Kit

Original Student Tutorials

Population Variation: Phenotype (Part 1 of 2):

Learn how evolution is influenced by genetic variation, natural selection, and allele frequency in this interactive tutorial.

This is part 1 in a two-part series. After you finish this tutorial, check out .

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Population Variation: Genotype (Part 2 of 2):

Examine how evolution is influenced by genetic variation, natural selection, and allele frequency through the lens of organism genotype. 

Click below to open part 1.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Perspectives Video: Expert

Using Mathematics to Optimize Wing Design:

Nick Moore discusses his research behind optimizing wing design using inspiration from animals and how they swim and fly.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Problem-Solving Task

Learning in Florida's Environment (LIFE) - Fish Adaptations:

Students collect fish using seine nets and observe/explain how the physical traits of fish are related to long term environmental factors and genetic variation and adaptation.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Teaching Idea

The Benefits of Biodiversity:

This activity explores concepts studied by genetic scientists as well as biomedical and environmental engineers.

Type: Teaching Idea

Text Resources

Plants, Animals Adapt to City Living:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. It describes new research suggesting urban life creates evolutionary changes in plants and animals. Examples of changes to an urban growing plant (the white clover) and a Leapin' Lizard are presented as they evolve to suit their new environment.

Type: Text Resource

Caught in the Act:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. 

This article describes several fascinating examples of rapid evolution by natural selection. It explains research on three organisms, cichlids, crickets and sea urchins, that demonstrates how these creatures have quickly adapted to their changing environments. This is a very useful article for students beginning to explore the concepts of natural selection, evolution, and extinction.  

 

Type: Text Resource

The Man Who Rocked Biology to its Core:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article is mostly a biography of Charles Darwin, including his studies and what drove him to be a biologist. The second half of the article discusses his theory of evolution by natural selection and his influences on the development of the theory. It gives a synopsis of how natural selection operates.

Type: Text Resource

What the Appendix is Good For:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The appendix has long been thought to be useless. However, new research suggests that the appendix actually can have a healthy function—to harbor bacteria beneficial to the immune system. This would have been vital early in humans' evolutionary history, when the chance of infection was much higher and medicine was lacking, and may still play that role for people in less developed parts of the world.

Type: Text Resource

For Some Male Crickets, Silence Means Survival:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article discusses how crickets on two Hawaiian islands have evolved wings that make them silent in response to parasitoid flies that locate male crickets via sound (and eat them from the inside out!). The crickets on Kauai and Oahu evolved completely different silent wing types, which is evidence that these two cricket populations evolved their silent wings independently.

Type: Text Resource

Many Human Ails are ‘Scars’ of Evolution:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The human evolution of bipedalism (walking upright) has resulted in a change in the morphology of the spine, feet, and other features of modern humans that are also present in fossils of our hominid ancestors. These changes have resulted in unintended consequences - body pains and injuries that our non-bipedal primate relatives do not experience.

Type: Text Resource

One Plus to Wearing Stripes:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article discusses current thinking and popular hypotheses for the function of zebra stripes. A recent study indicates that zebra stripes may protect the animals from fly bites, which are both a nuisance to the animals and a means of spreading infectious fatal diseases.

Type: Text Resource

Between a Rock and a Wet Place:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article explains how natural selection can lead to changes in populations. Variations in body types were observed in a species of climbing goby (a fish) in Hawaii. These variations allow differential success in avoiding predators and climbing waterfalls. Depending on conditions on different islands, individuals with certain body types are more likely to thrive because their body type makes it easier for them to survive and reproduce.

Type: Text Resource

Early Tyrannosaurs Would Have Feared This Predator:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses how the early tyrannosaur's rise to dominance was likely delayed by the existence of a newly discovered, fiercer predator with which it competed. The new dino, Siats meekerorum, likely postponed tyrannosaur's emergence as the top predator in its ecosystem.

Type: Text Resource

Evolved to Run:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text compares the bone and muscle structure of early Homo sapiens and Neandertals. It describes the ability to run long distances in one and not the other and explains how this difference may have evolved.

Type: Text Resource

Virtual Manipulative

Natural Selection:

Students will explore natural selection by controlling the environment and causing mutations in bunnies. This will demonstrate how natural selection works in nature. They will have the opportunity to throw in different variables to see what will make their species of rabbit survive.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

WebQuest

Evidence for Evolution:

PBS has developed an EXCELLENT unit on Evolution It has great activities, video clips, and games that lead a student through the mechanisms that lead to evolution, evidence that supports evolution, and the evolution ideas/scientific discoveries.

Type: WebQuest

STEM Lessons - Model Eliciting Activity

Reconstructing Reptile Relationships - A Mesozoic Muddle:

In this Model Eliciting Activity (MEA), students will attempt to identify, draw, and describe evolutionary relationships between a collection of reptiles that lived during the Mesozoic Era and that shared a common reptilian ancestor that lived earlier - in the Paleozoic Era.  The students will receive images of and facts about each of the reptiles, and will use those images and facts to prepare a cladogram – a tree-shaped diagram illustrating their hypotheses about those evolutionary relationships based on shared derived traits – and describe each of the branch points on the tree they construct.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Original Student Tutorials Science - Grades K-8

Population Variation: Genotype (Part 2 of 2):

Examine how evolution is influenced by genetic variation, natural selection, and allele frequency through the lens of organism genotype. 

Click below to open part 1.

Population Variation: Phenotype (Part 1 of 2):

Learn how evolution is influenced by genetic variation, natural selection, and allele frequency in this interactive tutorial.

This is part 1 in a two-part series. After you finish this tutorial, check out .

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Original Student Tutorials

Population Variation: Phenotype (Part 1 of 2):

Learn how evolution is influenced by genetic variation, natural selection, and allele frequency in this interactive tutorial.

This is part 1 in a two-part series. After you finish this tutorial, check out .

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Population Variation: Genotype (Part 2 of 2):

Examine how evolution is influenced by genetic variation, natural selection, and allele frequency through the lens of organism genotype. 

Click below to open part 1.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Virtual Manipulative

Natural Selection:

Students will explore natural selection by controlling the environment and causing mutations in bunnies. This will demonstrate how natural selection works in nature. They will have the opportunity to throw in different variables to see what will make their species of rabbit survive.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.