Evolution – VIDA chart

This chart is used as a graphic organizer to help students understand the process of evolution by natural selection. I use this chart multiple times throughout the unit, basically for each model organism we study.

VIDA means: Variation, Inheritance, Differential Survival and Reproduction, Adaptation. These principles apply not matter what organism you are studying. For example, if you start with the finches of the Galapagos, Variation refers to birds having different sized beaks.

Inheritance means that this trait is something that can be inherited or that it is genetic. Differential survival and reproduction means that some birds were better able to survive if their beaks were the best tool for the food on the island. Adaptation means that over time, the frequency of birds with that particular beak increases.

I use the VIDA chart with the lesson on African Elephant Tusks, Rock Pocket Mice, Stickleback Fish, and Human Evolution examples. Basically, just make a stockpile of copies and whenever students encounter a new organism, have them complete the chart. I even have students read current event articles on evolution and have them fill out the chart.

Time Required: Varies, depends on how much students do on their own, how much discussion you want to have, how complicated the example was.

Grade Level: 9-12, could be modified for lower levels