Technology Integration Learning Plan
Shannan Muskopf


Students will investigate the theory of evolution using various web sites. The goal of the project is for students to create a web site that addresses the common misconceptions that introductory biology students have regarding the Theory of Evolution. Students will use computers to research the topic and then to develop their own web site which will be targeted to other students who may also have misconceptions about the topic. Students will work in groups of 3 to 4.

Most students at Granite City High school have a strong religious background and come into biology with opinions regarding the theory of evolution. In the past, most of the students have disregarded learning anything about the subject because they feel it conflicts with their religious beliefs. Its is the goal of the lessen to broaden their perceptions about the theory, change at least some of their attitudes about it, and give them insight into the science behind the theory.

Technology is an important component of this lesson. Students will use a variety of resources on the web to investigate the topics. It is not enough for a teacher or a textbook to explain it, they generally have the misconception that evolution is “just a theory” or that it is not a theory that is widely accepted by scientists. Because of this misconception, they have been prone to disregard anything a teacher or textbook says regarding it. By viewing the vast amount of documents related to evolution, they will gain an understanding that it is a well-accepted and supported scientific theory.


Based on prior experience in covering this topic in the classroom, I have noted major misconceptions students have about evolution. They have generally disregarded learning anything on the topic at all because they view it as “just a theory” or that they believe in God and therefore the Theory of Evolution does not apply to them. They tend to dismiss it entirely. Getting past these hurdles is necessary in order for them to truly understand why the theory is a unifying theory of biology, and why it explains so much about the animal kingdom.

Students will be given a short true or false quiz to determine their understandings and misunderstandings regarding the topic of evolution.

Pre Quiz on Evolution

Answer True or False to the following statements.

1. According to the Theory of Evolution, humans evolved from monkeys.

2. Evolution is a theory, and therefore is not considered to be a scientific truth.

3. Charles Darwin proposed the the Theory of Evolution, but he later recanted his theory.

4. Natural Selection is the mechanism by which evolution occurs.

5. Theories are supported by facts and evidence, and can be revised if new evidence is found.

6. Only atheists (those who do not believe in God) believe the Theory of Evolution.

7. Creationism is another scientific theory that addresses the origins of humans.

8. Because there is a “missing link”, the Theory of Evolution cannot be proven.

9. Evolution is a unifying theory of biology.

10. Charles Darwin was the only scientist to propose and support the Theory of Evolution.

This pre-quiz will attempt to identify student misconceptions about the Theory of Evolution. It will not be graded. Students will also be able to use the pre-quiz as a starting point to address the misconceptions. It is a self-evaluation process, where students identify their own misconceptions and restructure their knowledge base on the topic of Evolution.

Students will generally have some knowledge about the theory of evolution and will have strong opinions regarding it. They will have little understanding of what constitutes a scientific theory. It will be necessary for students to get past many of the misconceptions to learn how the Theory of Evolution is a unifying theory in biology and other life sciences.

A questionnaire regarding the students’ abilities with computers will be given. Basic questionnaire that addresses their experience with word processing documents and web searches. Student will be grouped by ability level: students with more experience will be paired with those with lesser experience. This step will ensure that the web development and word processing part of the project does not become the main focus.


--Students will learn the main tenants of the Theory of Evolution.
--They will be able to articulate this knowledge in the form of a web page which will require them to organize the information.
-- They will understand what a Theory is, and why alternate theories (such as creationism) cannot be addressed by science.
-- They will evaluate their own attitudes regarding the topic of evolution and become more tolerant of the scientific viewpoint, expressing such attitudes on the web page they create.

Time - 1 day to introduce the project
- 3 days on the computer, working in groups of 3 or 4

Design and Development

The use of technology will enhance the lesson on evolution by showing students that the concepts proposed by Darwin are alive and well within the scientific community. The plethora of resources available on the web regarding the topic make it an excellent starting point for a beginner to learn the major tenants of evolution. Shockwave programs and pictures of fossils also add an interactive component to the lesson, which will motivate the students more than a textbook or lecture will.

The technology use will not only motivate students, it will also foster group cooperation. Students working in a group to evaluate and search resources on the web, as a group they must determine which information they will include in their final report. Collaboration will also promote discussion, where ideas students have can be evaluated by their peers and not by a teacher or outside “authority” on a subject that many already have negative opinions about.

The use of technology will also support self analysis and metacognition. As students research on their own, they will have to evaluate their own conceptions of the topic and analyze other viewpoints. They must start with what they know, determine if what they know is what is accepted within science standards, and adjust their attitudes as they go.

This strategy will improve lessons on evolution that I have done in the past. Past lessons centered on the textbook definition, where I lecture the students, give them the information followed by a short discussion on misconceptions and religious beliefs. Most students, due to strong personal feelings on the subject tune out. Honor students are inclined to memorize the information, but they show no evidence of really thinking about it, or learning it. They essentially “pay lip service” to the topic on the exams. The use of technology can put the responsibility of learning into the learner’s hands.

The publishing aspect allows the students creative freedom as far as how they will present what they have learned. They can also view other groups pages quickly as easily. This is beneficial in that if one group focuses on a few areas of the topic, other groups may be have covered different areas; by viewing pages of other groups, students can also expand their knowledge base. Limiting the document to one HTML page forces the students to simplify their ideas and present them in concise way, stressing that they are not writing a research paper. Their target audience is other students, who may also have misconceptions.

Activity - Using the Internet to Research the Theory of Evolution

1. Students will brainstorm a list of things they know (or think they know) about the Theory of Evolution ( 20 minutes)

2. Students will develop a list of things they do not know, would like to know or are confused about. A list of questions can also suffice. (20 minutes)

3. Students will take the pre-quiz on evolution (10 minutes)

3. Students will use a computer to search web sites to discover the answers to the true or false pre-quiz. (2-3 days)

A list of web sites will be given, students may search other “approved” sites. It is important at this stage that only approved sites be allowed, because there are many religious organizations that will confuse the concept of a “scientific” theory. Some sites chosen will address religious arguments, but will be focused on science and not religion, and discuss both topics objectively.

Sites Chosen for Project

Evolution Resources
 This site has many educational resources, including tours of exhibits that show different animals, their relationship to other animals, and their relationship to extinct animals.
 This site addresses the evolution and creationism debate.  It is strictly a science site that attempts to answer many of the questions posed by creationists to bebunk evolution.  The FAQ page is an excellent resource which can help you see how scientists respond to many religious questions about evolution.
This site contains an objective discussion about different religions and how those religions view creationism and evolution.  The site is called “religious tolerance” and as the name suggests, it does not make judgments about any particular religion or belief, but rather focuses on the debate and different beliefs.
 This site focuses on primate and human evolution.  It uses shockwave to show virtual skulls that can be manipulated and rotated.   Each skull also has a short description of its relationship to human evolution.
 A question and answer page that explores common questions about evolution and has a gallery.  It links section is very thorough, and you can explore other sites from here.
 A site for beginners, explains the step by step process of evolution and addresses myths about evolution.  You can also see how carbon dating works, and get a scientific viewpoint about the biblical  Flood.
 This site was developed by students to teach other students about evolution.  It has a very thorough tutorial, and since it was developed by students the language is easy to understand.
 This site shows a gallery of horse evolution.  Fossils of horses and their ancestors show a very complete timeline of how this species changed over time.  This virtual museum will take your through a tour of the horse fossils found and how these fossils are evidence for evolution.

4. Students will determine what are facts, and what are misconceptions, they will develop a web site to help other students understand the Theory of Evolution (2 days)

Web page Parameters
-- The theory of evolution will be explained in the context of natural selection
-- Include common questions students have about evolution
-- At least three misconceptions about evolution will be posted with a rebuttal from a scientific viewpoint.
-- Use creativity (clipart, jpg) to support your arguments
-- Approximate length - 1 page (1 html document)


Resources needed
--6 or more computers, available for sign up through the science and math departments
--Word processing program that will convert text to HTML (Microsoft Word) - installed on computers
--Internet Connection
--Free web space to publish student documents, available through

Students may have difficulty navigating web sites, usually this is caused by mistyping the url, it should be stressed to students beforehand the importance of correctly entering the address. In the event that a site is inaccessible, due to outside server problems, students should just try a different site.

Students may also end up “offsite” because many of the sites chosen for this activity will have links to other sites. This will not be a major problem, and offsite surfing should be encouraged as long as the site visited fall into the parameters of the assignment. Be aware that there are many places on the web ( that will have a very jaded and nonscientific view on the topic, monitor students to ensure that these sites are not the main focus of their research, and encourage only viewing the approved sites.


To determine whether the students achieved the objectives, their web site documents will be graded with a rubric, this is the simplest way to determine whether they have completed the project within the guidelines. The rubric will be simple, the final project is not as valuable as the process they used to get there.

Rubric for web site design can be found at

The original questionnaire on the topic serves not only to determine the level of the students’ knowledge on the topic, but also provide them with suggestions and hints on where to start. Incidental or unplanned learning will occur when students address misconceptions that are not on this list. Truly, there are hundreds of misconceptions, but only 10 were listed to give students a focus.

Only after a class has completed the project can evaluation of the actual activity occur. It would be impossible for me to predict what problems and issues the students will encounter without first doing a “trial run”. After this, not only the students’ progress evaluated, by the feasibility of the entire object as a whole, questions that cannot be answered until after a class has completed the project.

I’ve compiled a list of questions I will ask myself, regarding certain parameters of the activity that I may change based on the outcome of the trial run.

--Are there too many web sites given for students to browse? not enough?
--Did the technical aspect of making a web page become more of a focus than the research and learning? Would a paper or poster be better than making a web page?
--Would students be better served by doing this project individually or in pairs, rather than groups?
--Do I need to be more specific about listing the parameters of the web site students make? Do I need to be less specific?
--Did the students seem motivated, or was this a chore for both them and me?

Though changes may be made to the structure of the activity, it would be impossible to perform this project without the use of technology. Textbooks and lectures cannot substitute, since the entire activity is based on the process of students working through their own misconceptions. I’ve lectured students in the past on this topic, listing questions and misconceptions followed by scientific arguments, and found this method to be ineffective. Hopefully, learners taking responsibility for their own exploration will increase motivation and have positive effects on their attitudes and knowledge base.