K-12 Education

Teaching Evolution in Action:

BEACON members are involved in developing resources for teaching evolution at the K-12 level. A brief description of these resources and links to pertinent articles and/or software are below.

Travis Hagey engaging students at


Evolving Better Cars: Teaching Evolution by Natural Selection with a Digital Inquiry Activity

BoxCar2D – an interactive website where users can evolve cars using genetic algorithms. In the lesson created by BEACONites Anne Royer and Elizabeth Schultheis, students explore how the basic principles of evolution can be used to evolve a better vehicle.


If interested in watching a population of cars evolve all at once, check out Genetic Cars


Data Nuggets

Data Nuggets – developed by graduate students and K12 teachers in collaboration with the GK12 Program, Data Nuggets are short activities that bring real scientific data into the classroom, guiding students through the entire process of science while building their qualitative abilities.

Polymorphic Games

Darwin’s Daemons – an arcade style space shooter game developed by faculty and students at the University of Idaho. Gamers defend against an encroaching horde of evolving enemies. As you kill each generation, the fittest creatures become the parents of the next generation, adapting to your play style.



Avida-ED –a digital evolution educational software environment designed for teaching and learning about evolution and the nature of science in undergraduate biology courses.  The Avida-ED Team offers Instructor Training Workshops.  Contact Rob Pennock (pennock5@msu.edu) or Mike Wiser (mwiser@msu.edu) for additional details.  Avida-ED Digital Evolution Curriculum


TEACHERS Researching EVOLUTION – a program placing teachers in research labs for the summer.  Contact Louse Mead (lsmead@msu.edu) or Kara Haas (karahaas@kbs.msu.edu) for additional details.

Additional Resources on Teaching Evolution

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