Evolution in Action


Darwin’s Finches

I just finished a week of subbing for some Pre-IB Biology classes. When I got arrived in the morning I realized that there was no powerpoint or other document. I don’t like to just lecture so I quickly put a Google Slide document together in the planning period before classes started. Evolution in Action  My slides cover the material from section 15.3 in the textbook Modern Biology. I wanted to give students plenty of examples that would help them understand and remember the concepts.

For the following two days students were supposed to do the natural selection simulation lab at the end of the chapter. Unfortunately students were not able to get the paper and plastic straw “birds” to fly. Students were giving up and becoming disengaged. What to do? Adapt!  I found a great online simulation with a pdf that got the students engaged and learning.

SEPUP Natural Selection Simulation

SEPUP Natural Selection pdf


Moving Forward

More to come! I’d like to learn to code. I still hope to get a teaching job but if that doesn’t happen then I keep learning. I’m currently enrolled in a Teaching in the Digital Age professional development class.  Wow… so much has happened in the last two months. I have a part-time job as an academic tutor for Boulder Explore which I love.


Teaching Resources: The Crystal Caves of Naica

I used this to generate interest for an Earth Science lesson. I put the following image up on the Smartboard and asked sixth-grade students to vote on whether the photo was real or photoshopped. crystal-cave-615

Another great reason to use the Crystal Caves of Naica in Earth Science teaching is that the resources are available in both Spanish and English. http://naicalapelicula.com/index.htm and http://www.naica.com.mx/english/index.htm

Teaching Resources: SciencePhoto.com

www.SciencePhoto.com  is great for unusual images and short videos from research institutions world wide. The images are water-marked but are still useful for teaching.

Here is a great video for stimulating curiosity about density and gases:

The video offers students an opportunity to see a demonstration that could not be done in the average secondary science classroom. As an introduction to a unit, students can brainstorm about what they think is happening too! Why doesn’t the cloud sink? What is the cloud made of?

This short video shows how the ossicles transmit sound from the eardrum to the cochlea. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is worth at least a million.  

Bingo is Better…

than Jeopardy style review games. As a teacher I’ve found Jeopardy reviews to be frustrating. Many students were bored and only the most competitive students were engaged. Jeopardy just doesn’t encourage all students to participate.  Finally once the answers are revealed the game can’t be played again. I’ve found, on the other hand, that Bingo reviews allow everyone a chance to win not just the fastest students. The first round can be played collaboratively with everyone helping everyone else get the right answer. Swapping cards and playing several rounds reinforces learning. There is no wasted time on score keeping either. The winner of each round gets a small prize and the game starts again. The students really enjoyed it!

Bingo can be used for a variety of questions and also image identification. A 5 x 5 Bingo card can be used for up to 75 questions. You can google “bingo card generator” or follow this link: http://www.dltk-cards.com/bingo/

Molecules and Clouds Lesson

This is a power point that I created for a fifth grade class that had just finished learning about weather. Most of the students had not learned about atoms and molecules so I decided to link the lesson to what they knew about clouds. I used an interactive approach to presenting the powerpoint by asking lots of questions. The best part for me was when one student’s eyes grew big, and he grabbed his own arm.  “You mean they’re in us and.. and… everything!?”

After the introduction, the class did hands-on activities such as cloud in a bottle and classroom demos, e.g. dry ice soap bubbles.