Evolution and Inheritance for Kids
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Learning about Evolution, Inheritance and Interdependence is a great way to understand your history and may even lead to a life long love of history, archaeology or scientific discovery!
In terms of evolution, fossils provide clues and evidence of the history of living organisms over millions of years. Evolutionary theories put forward by Charles Darwin are generally accepted in the scientific community. Both plants and animals have adapted to their environments over time and variation and natural selection has meant that over time species have become increasingly well suited to their environment. Even human skeletons have changed significantly over time as we now have bigger brains than early mankind which now helps set us apart from other species.
Interdependence can teach you all about how food chains work and 'what eats what' and explains that all life forms need energy / food sources to survive.
Inheritance is all about genetics. Plants and animals resemble their 'parents' in quite a few ways but are obviously slightly different. Even twins are not identical in every way and certainly over years, as they are exposed to different environmental influences they will typically become less and less alike. These variations in plants and animals mean some are more suited and some are less suited to an environment and over generations the variation that adapts best is likely to flourish. Some diseases can be inherited even if they are recessive in that generation.
Some of the knowledge you should be able to acquire in order for you to fully understand this topic are:
- Appreciate how fossils can provide evidence about organisms that lived millions of years ago
- Understand the basics of evolution and how variation, adaptation and natural selection has had a key role in this
- Appreciate examples of how many plants and animals have adapted to their habitats
- Understand that the human skeleton has changed over time with evolution and therefore the way we move
- Understand some of the evolution theory of Charles Darwin
- Understand the basics of inheritance and how organisms often resemble their parents and carry genes on through generations. Looking at family trees can help.
- Older children 11+ will learn about reproduction in plants, animals and humans
- Older children 11+ will learn about genes, chromosomes and DNA
In the links below we've put together together an impressive list of interactive, fun games, training activities and quizzes. Work your way through them and you'll find yourself learning naturally whilst having fun at the same time!
In the activity, you need to help Steve (from Deadly 60) find the deadliest predator from the food chain. You can choose land or sea and check out the food chain (what eats what). Answer the questions to see if you know. Then watch the two videos of the deadliest predators in the food chain. Then read the notes about animals and plants....Read More
This board game is like Snakes and Ladders (Chutes and ladders) where you play against your friends with a token , roll a die and follow your nose! It is set over 600 million years! The aim of course is to get to the last square (finishing with an exact number). If you land on....Read More
The aim of this game is simple. Build the food chain! It firstly explains some simple terms i.e. the difference between omnivores (e.g. humans who eat meat and plants), carnivores (e.g. tigers who are solely meat eaters) and herbivores (e.g. rabbits who are solely plant eaters). Then you have a choice to either complete the Northern Food....Read More
Play with your friend! You will need a hole punch and some white paper, black paper and newspaper for this challenge. By laying the cut out circles on the newspaper you need to ask a friend to pick up various random circles in a given time as if they were a bird and the circles were food e.g. moths. Tabulating the results....Read More
Find out all about the four episodes of this classic series and the science behind it. Episodes are 'First Ancestors', 'Blood Brothers', 'Savage....Read More
Watch this fascinating cartoon video about Charlie going back in time in a time machine to meet his great great grandfather then back much further to meet the dinosaurs 150 million years ago. He learns how Kiwis were....Read More
Includes Word Walls, Hands On activities, photo prompt sheets, jungle fact finding....Read More
The first part of this activity asks you to spot the different living things in the woodland habitat. Then you can click on the magnifying glass to learn more about each one. For example the snail likes to eat leaves and plants but is itself eaten by birds and hedgehogs. Then try the two sorting questions to fill out the food web....Read More
Play this simple game starting with 40 creatures that can reproduce and mutate and turn a different colour too. You can change the environment (background colour) which kills off creatures that are not of that colour after a certain time. You can drag the creatures to empty areas to prevent clumping. Don't expect a logical conclusion to....Read More
Dr. Rick Potts shows fossils found over time and compares them to give a clearer view of evolution. He examines and discusses skulls from different ages as well as various types of innovations (such as harpoons for fishing plus....Read More
In the activity, you are introduced to a classic food chain (grass, rabbit and fox) and are taken through the dependency on each other. A Biomass food chain pyramid is also introduced as well as a food web. Mercury concentrations in fish are used as an example of a toxic material entering the food chain. Then read the notes about 'Plants....Read More
In the activity, you learn about the classification into two main kingdoms (plants and animals) and an example of how these are sub-divided. Continuous and discontinuous variation is explained too along with selective breeding and DNA alterations using genetic engineering. There is also an inbuilt Quiz. Then read the notes about....Read More
Find out in this activity how plants and animals adapt to their environment in order to survive. An example is the polar bear which is white to avoid being seen by its prey, lots of fat and thick fur to ward off the cold, for example. Other adapted animals are the snow shoe hare which is different colours in summer and winter for....Read More
This shows a graphical migration map over the last 160,000 years by the Bradshaw Foundation. It all started in East Africa, then hunter gatherers initially spread out towards the Cape of Good Hope and the Ivory Coast. A fascinating insight into migration with some....Read More
Read the Revision Notes to understand how changes to the environment can have major changes to plants or animals that depend on that environment. The change could be a change in weather or predator activities, for example. Some changes can be due to human activities e.g. deforestation or pollution which can affect certain species. An....Read More
This activity explains that the theory of evolution is that life started on the Earth about 3 billion years ago as simple lifeforms. Due to genetic variations, natural selection allowed the best environmentally adapted organisms to survive and reproduce. Take the inbuilt 5 question Quiz! Read the notes which explain more about the....Read More
Organisms adapt to the habitats they live in and the natural variation in organisms allows the best suited to not only survive but to thrive through reproduction. An example given is arctic plants which are small and have tiny leaves helping them to conserve water and avoid wind damage. Continuous Variation (e.g. human height and weight)....Read More
In this activity you will get to learn how inherited characteristics from your parents are determined by alleles which are a combination of different forms of the same gene. An example of eye colour is given and the explanation shows how even two brown eyed parents can have a child with blue eyes. Recessive characteristics are explained....Read More
Explains about plants being producers (produce their own energy from the sun) and animals being consumers of energy (get their energy by eating other organisms). The definition of a food chain is given and a simple one is highlighted (grass -> vole -> barn owl). The Biomass pyramid is introduced. Then you have a chance to fill out a sea....Read More
These Revision Notes give information about how a human egg from a female and sperm cells from a male come together to produce a fertilised egg. 23 chromosomes from the egg pair up with 23 from the sperm and these random combinations give different variations of children. How gender is worked out from the male and female X and Y....Read More
The Tree of Life is an Open Source Project funded by the Wellcome Trust , the BBC, The Open University, the Natural History Museum and more! It is a great learning resource based on Charles Darwins' idea of a 'Tree of Life'. The video shows how it is believed all life started on Earth from the simplest organisms around 3 billion years....Read More
You are in control of a theoretical species and the aim of the game is to make a viable evolutionary lineage for 1 million years in a harsh, changeable environment including predators, hot weather and food changes. Don't be afraid of diversity! Then try learning about Natural Selection which shows how variation, traits passed from....Read More
A superb PDF document by Charlie's Playhouse that lists and reviews 89 different books related to evolution or Charles Darwin. There are 12 favourite books (all identified with Stars) and some recession busters too. There are even six books about observing the world carefully. The 12 best are : * The Beast in You * Bones, Brains and DNA....Read More
In this activity you have a box of bones and you need to make up a full human skeleton and a full chimpanzee skeleton. Both are similar but there are also major differences too. Humans adapted to walk upright (bipedalism) and you'll learn more about how this has come about when you carry out the activity to build up....Read More
Find out how closely related we are to other primates by comparing chromosomes of apes to humans. You can invert some chromosomes if they are the wrong way round. You'll be surprised to see how closely human chromosomes match various species of apes.....Read More
The activities from the University of Utah include 'Create a handy family tree', inherited human traits: a quick reference', 'traits trivia', 'traits and traditions', 'traits bingo', 'what's your family health story?', 'a recipe for traits', 'pick the risk', 'a tree of genetic traits' and 'risk continuum'. These are well thought out and....Read More
The activity takes you through some genetic information about the nucleus of a cell, chromosomes and DNA and how genes control various organism's characteristics. Then reproduction is mentioned and human male and female sex cells (sperm and ova) and how the sperm fertilises the egg are explained. Asexual reproduction is explained too....Read More
These notes explain all about the evidence for the evolution theory put forward by Charles Darwin. This includes fossils of organisms alive millions of years ago as well as tools found. It also explains there are scientific ways to trace DNA back a huge amount of time to prove evolution too. Co-evolution is also explained with an example....Read More
These Revision Notes give an explanation of chromosomes, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and genes plus how these are passed on by parents to their offspring. A section on variation explains how minor variations can occur. Read....Read More