Teacher Review For NOVA

Engaging Resources to Explore Evolution

Donna M.
Classroom teacher
Vista Visions Academy
Vista, CA
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My Grades 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Science, Health & Wellness
EdTech Mentor
My Rating 5
Learning Scores
Engagement 5
Pedagogy 4
Support 5
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Creation
Further application
Knowledge gain
Small group
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
How I Use It
This site provides many resources; readings, videos, interactive multi-media presentations and audio files, appropriate for both middle and high school earth science and biology students. One of the articles my students analyze is, "Evolution Down Under." It explains why marsupials and not mammals rose to dominance in Australia, linking continental movement to evolution. The article, "Ten Great Advances in Evolution," presents Biology students with current discoveries, many of which solidify Darwin's ideas. The high quality videos and interactives provide resources which I use for both direct instruction and student research. Near the end of both my high school and middle school evolution units, students choose a topic and using this site can answer questions such as, "Is Evolution Occurring Today?" "What Evidence is There for the Existence of Transitional Species?" and "Why do People Walk Upright?"
My Take
The resources on the site are outstanding. The articles, videos, and interactives are current, engaging and puts students in the role of investigator. The reading level of the articles is fairly high and there is nothing to support low readers with the content in the articles. However, the interactives and slide shows contain a mix of reading and video so the content in those is accessible to most students. The videos are also accessible but the full episodes are the traditional NOVA videos - 1 to 2 hours in length, which is too long for most students to maintain interest. There are video shorts available that show specific concepts, 2-15 minutes in length. This site does not provide curriculum or correlations to the NGSS standards. Instead, it is up to the teacher to determine what resource(s) are needed to teach the desired concepts and meet the desired standards.