Grade Level

High School




Kari Taylor-Burt, James Freyermuth

Lesson Summary

Anolis alutaceus

The purpose of this activity is to reinforce the concepts of evolution by means of natural selection. Students will explore the evidence used to determine evolutionary relationships. They will recognize how similar selective pressures can result in similar phenotypes and adaptive strategies and how species differentiate due to resource partitioning and competition when
pioneering a new environment.

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Model evolutionary relationships among species based data and revise the model based on additional information.
  • Determine the reliability of different forms of data and draw phylogenetic trees based upon these data.


Science and Engineering Practices:

SP2, SP4, SP6, SP7

MA Science and Technology/Engineering (2016):


NGSS (2013):

HS-LS4-1, HS-LS4-4

Common Core Math/Language Arts Standards:



Anolis, adaptive radiation, convergent evolution, divergent evolution, ecomorph, natural selection, niche, phenotype, phylogeny

Educator SoundBites

"I find evolution & phylogeny to be dry at times and challenging to address with my students so any data drive or evidence based investigation is wonderful."
Dr. Lance Brand, Delta High School, Muncie, IN

“I loved using this lesson. It wove together a lot of the things we have been talking about in the unit, giving my students the opportunity to apply a lot of different concepts at once. It made a nice break from the cookbook labs."
Nuria Sanchez-Morgan, Notre Dame Academy, Hingham, MA

Lesson Documents


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Download PDF View Google Doc


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