Evolution: Education and Outreach

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 293–297

A Three-Step Method for Teaching the Principles of Evolution to Non-Biology Major Undergraduates


    • Department of AnthropologyPortland State University
Curriculum and Education Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12052-010-0296-z

Cite this article as:
Smith, C.M. Evo Edu Outreach (2011) 4: 293. doi:10.1007/s12052-010-0296-z


A method for teaching the principles of evolution in a 50-minute lecture for undergraduate non-biology majors is described. The method “unpacks” evolution into three observable, factual occurrences: replication (R, reproduction), variation (V, differences between parent and offspring and siblings), and selection (S, nonrandom differential survival of offspring). This method has been particularly effective in demonstrating to students that evolution is the factual, unintended consequence of three independent phenomena (R, V, S).


Teaching evolutionUndergraduate instructionPedagogy

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010