Partnerships for Reform through Investigative Science and Math - PRISM

Adaptations and Variation of Hawaiʻi's Endemic Species

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Download curriculum in individual sections using the links at the bottom of this page. Also see some more examples of student work. Some of the files are large. Read on for a description of the adaptations unit or download the unit introduction for a complete description of the lesson format, assessment, and content

Grade Level: 7th Grade

This curriculum was designed to communicate concepts about evolutionary processes to seventh grade students. Hawaiʻi is home to many endemic species that exhibit different genetic variations. These unique species are excellent examples to utilize to help students understand evolution.

The Hawaiian Island chain is the most isolated archipelago on the planet. This isolation has limited the number of animal and plant species that have arrived here naturally. When organisms do colonize the islands successfully, their populations must change over time in order to suit the conditions of their new environment. As a result of millions of years of evolution in isolation, the Hawaiian Islands are home to many fascinating endemic species, such as Hawaiian honeycreepers, Happy-face spiders, and Ohia trees. This curriculum focuses on examples of Hawaiʻi’s native flora and fauna to understand evolutionary concepts, including genetic variation, natural selection, and adaptation.

WHEA student inspects a Nene GooseWHEA student inspects a Nene Goose

West Hawaiʻi Explorations Academy class ready for a science dayWest Hawaiʻi Explorations Academy class ready for a science day

WHEA students investigate an Ohia treeWHEA students investigate an Ohia tree

Concept Map

Concept map of the adaptations unit

Hawaii Standards Addressed:

Standard 7.1
The Scientific Process: Scientific Ivestigation: Discover, invent, and investigate using the skills necessary to engage in the scientific process
Standard 7.5
Life and Environmental Sciences: Diversity, Genetics, and Evolution: Understand genetics and biological evolution and their impact on the unity and diversity of organisms

Downloadable Lessons