Darwin Natural Selection Activity | Printable and Digital Distance Learning

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32 Ratings
Amy Brown Science
Grade Levels
9th - 12th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip
  • Google Apps™
14 student pages 16 teacher pages
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Amy Brown Science
Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).
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Your students will learn about the life of Charles Darwin and how the events of his life led to the development of his theory of evolution. This 14-page student activity simulates a diary written by Darwin throughout his life. Choose to use the traditional printable version, or the paperless, digital Google Apps version. The 26 diary entries include facts and information about Darwin as well as actual quotes from Darwin. After each diary entry, students will answer a series of thought-provoking and critical-thinking questions.

This resource is perfect for traditional classroom settings, distance learning, flipped classrooms, or for students in 1:1 classrooms.

Click this link to view all of my Digital Resources.

What is included in this product?

  • Editable and printable 14-page Full Color Student Handouts
  • Editable and printable 14-page Black and White Student Handouts (printer friendly)
  • 13 Page Teacher Answer Key
  • 3 Page Teacher User Guide
  • Paperless Digital Version (not editable) for use in Google Drive, Google Classroom, and /or Microsoft OneDrive
  • Teacher Guide for Google Apps


This activity was designed to compliment my Theory of Evolution Teaching PowerPoint.

Use this link to view this PowerPoint presentation.


What is needed to complete this assignment?

In order to complete these assignments, students will need to use the following resources:

  • Biology textbook
  • Notes taken during class
  • Online Resources: Links to appropriate web sites are given in the Teacher Guide. These sites will provide information to students as they work through the analysis questions.

At the end of "On the Origin of Species", Darwin writes, “There is grandeur in this view of life … from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” This product is a journey through time that allows our science students to learn about the events throughout Darwin's life that led him to write (late in life) "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection."

The 14 student pages include 26 diary entries ranging from Feb 12, 1819 (when Darwin was 10 years old) to April 1, 1871. Each diary entry includes key facts about Darwin, his life and travels, and actual quotes from Darwin’s writings.

What will the students be doing?

This teaching resource is written as if it were a diary kept by Charles Darwin throughout his life. The entries in the diary are designed to teach your students about the life of Darwin, and the events that led him to develop his theory of evolution. Students will be asked to respond in some way to each diary entry. In some diary entries students will be asked to offer opinions, but in others, they must provide correct answers to questions.

This product is suitable for biology and life science students in grades 9 - 12. The product is intended to be an ongoing activity to be used during your unit on evolution. Have students begin the project on the first day of your unit. Then assign several pages a day as homework or classwork.

This product is editable and includes both color and black/white versions of the diary pages.

What topics are included in the diary entries?

The topics that are covered are ones that relate to Darwin’s life and his work.

  • Biographical and historical information about Charles Darwin.
  • Events that led Darwin to develop his theory of evolution.
  • Definitions of the following terms: evolution, biological diversity, and theory.
  • The work of the following scientists: Georges Cuvier, James Hutton, Charles Lyell, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, and Thomas Malthus.
  • Adaptations.
  • The difference between acquired characteristics and inherited characteristics.
  • What is a fossil? How do fossils provide evidence of evolution?
  • Principle of Uniformitarianism; Evidence provided by rock strata.
  • Biogeography and the geographic distribution of organisms.
  • Darwin’s observations of Galapagos tortoises and finches.
  • Homologous structures and vestigial structures.
  • Four main points in Darwin’s theory of evolution: Overproduction, genetic variation, struggle to survive, and differential reproduction. Definition of natural selection.
  • Common descent and descent with modification.
  • Selective breeding; Differences between artificial selection and natural selection.
  • Reasons Darwin was reluctant to publish his work; Controversial beliefs of Darwin’s time.
  • Alfred Russel Wallace.
  • Publication of “On the Origin of Species.”
  • Five types of evidence Darwin used to support his theory: The fossil record, biogeography, homology, embryology and biological molecules.
  • Publication of “The Descent of Man.”

Related Products Include:

Darwin's Theory of Evolution PowerPoint and Notes

Theory of Evolution Task Cards

Evolution Quizzes: Set of 2 Quizzes

Theory of Evolution Homework and Study Guide

Evolution Lab: Modeling Natural Selection

Evolution and Classification Warm Ups and Interactive Notebook Pages

Evolution Unit Test

Evolution Crossword Puzzle

A Hardy Weinberg Lab Simulation Activity

Lab: Making Coacervates

The History of Life on Earth PowerPoint and Notes

Origin of Life of Earth Homework Assignments

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Total Pages
14 student pages 16 teacher pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text’s explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9–10 texts and topics.
Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.


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