As Year 6 will be required to learn about evolution, they will inherently need to understand the concept of natural selection.
Natural selection is a process in which evolution can occur. The key factors in evolution by natural selection are:
- Individuals in a species or population show a degree of variation.
- Individuals in the population or species with traits most suited to the environment are more likely to survive and have healthy offspring.
- The offspring of the successful individuals will inherit the same or similar traits.
- Individuals less suited to their environment are less likely to survive or have offspring. Their traits are less likely to be passed on and there is a change in the trait frequency in a population.
- Over many generations as the trait pattern changes, the species or population will gradually evolve.
Darwin’s finches are also a great way of explaining how natural selection resulted in birds on some islands evolving different shaped beaks based on the resources (food) that was available to them. They are a great example to use that brings together understanding of the environment, adaptations and the process of evolution by natural selection. We also have a specific page about the life of Darwin and his work on evolution.
|Bird beak shapes are investigated in relation to their environment and how over generations this leads to evolutionary adaptation. A fun activity using different tools as beaks to pick up different sized food in changing environments||Bird beak investigation|
Below is a feature video all about adaptations, evolution and how it can occur through a process called natural selection. Try getting your class to think about the adaptations of some model dinosaurs, like they do in the video!