Review Darwin’s theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, and see it illustrated with a selection game in the famous lecture theatre.
We have developed a series of clips to explore the Life Fantastic with your students. The pages are intended for use as a prompt to help you prepare when exploring these topics in lessons. Teachers have told us that the videos and questions best suit being used as a topic introduction.
On this page you will find an overview of the topic covered by the clips, a brief summary of each clip, related questions and how the topic links to the curriculum. This is one of eight available resources on developmental biology. For more topics see the teaching resources list.
The material in this resource is supported by video clips from the CHRISTMAS LECTURES 2013.
This resource is suitable for Key Stages 3 and 4 and AS/A2 level. Full curriculum links are given at the bottom of the page.
Using a demonstration designed to illustrate natural selection and the struggle for life, Alison Woollard delves deeper into Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. This video first introduces Darwin’s own summary of his great idea before doing an experiment to test it. In a game of competing for sweets, Alison introduces ‘mutations’ and ‘adaptations’ to the competing children and demonstrates that some individuals are better adapted than others to collect sweets from the canopy. The winners are ‘naturally selected’ and are better adapted to survive and reproduce, with their descendents flourishing in the evolutionary race.
Running Time: 7 min 11 secs
Alison finds a hidden element to the natural selection game – prey that has adapted to be hidden from the predators. The black sweets in the selection game were missed by the players; they were camouflaged, demonstrating that evolution by natural selection works at lots of different levels.
Running Time: 1 min 3 secs
Under ‘Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA and genes’ in ‘Genetics and Evolution’, this resource expands upon the idea that organisms compete with each other to drive natural selection, and variation in organisms and/or the environment influences the competition.
The clips give a novel and visual explanation of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. The concepts of variation in characteristics, and selection and inheritance of advantageous characteristics are illustrated by a selection game. The game illustrates how advantageous characteristics influence an organism’s fitness during its lifetime and how this affects its reproductive success. The resource covers AQA GCSE Biology 4401/ Science 4405 Unit 1: Biology 1 B1.4.1 ‘Adaptations’ and B1.8 ‘Evolution’ and Science B 4450 Unit 1: My world section 126.96.36.199 ‘Life on our planet’ points 5-8; Edexcel GCSE Biology 2BI01/ Science 2SC01 Unit B1 Topic 1 ‘Classification, variation and inheritance’ 1.11-12; OCR GCSE Biology A J243/ Science A J241 Unit A161 Module B3 ‘Systems in balance – how do different species depend on each other?’ B3.1, 2, 3 and 5.
The video clips also provide a spring board to consider how DNA evidence supports Darwin’s theory according to Edexcel GCSE Biology 2BI01/ Science 2SC01 Unit B1 Topic 1 1.1.18 and OCR GCSE Biology A J243/Science A J241 Unit A161 Module B3 ‘How has life on Earth evolved?’ B3.2 10-11.
The clips and resource provide a framework to consider examples of evolution and selection beyond antibiotic resistance and bacteria. Appropriate for AQA GCE Biology AS 1411 Unit 2 BIOL2 ‘The variety of living organisms’ section 3.2.10 and OCR GCE Biology AS Unit F212 Module 3 ‘Biodiversity and Evolution’ 2.3.3.
View the full CHRISTMAS LECTURES, Life Fantastic, along with behind the scenes footage, and related content, at the Ri Channel (www.richannel.org).