Activity Introduction

lizard-heroQuick summary: In this lesson, students explore the idea of speciation and the factors influencing speciation. They begin by participating in a class discussion around key concepts relating to speciation, and then work in pairs to complete an activity deciding what types of habitats two species of monkey would be suited to based on their physical characteristics. Finally, students are asked to create a clay-mation video showing the steps by which two different species of lizard could develop from one species after the formation of the desert of the Nullarbor Plain.

Learning goals:

  • Students recognise the steps of speciation.
  • Students understand the factors affecting speciation.
  • Students understand the relationship between speciation and natural selection.
  • Students understand how to make a clay-mation animation.

21st century skills:

evolution speciation skills

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content description:

Year 10 Science

  • The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of living things and is supported by a range of scientific evidence (ACSSU185)

Syllabus OutcomesSC5-9WS, SC5-14LW.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Topic: Evolution.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate discussion and oversee activity.

Resources required: Internet access, Speciation factsheet, Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Tips for writing online.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities, Infographic creation (DIY infographic tips).

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: Speciation, isolation, variation, adaptation, selective agent.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

finch-heroTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: By participating in this activity students will recognise the steps of speciation and some of the key concepts relating to speciation. They will understand the relationship between speciation and natural selection. Finally, students will understand how to make a clay-mation animation.

Teacher content information:

Speciation: Of Ligers & Men - Crash Course Biology #15 - (

Hot tips: Use the video above to introduce students to this topic. Students could watch this video as part of their homework preparation.

Teaching sequence

15 minutes - Writing definitions and class discussion.
20 minutes - Speciation activity and class discussion.
25+ minutes - Clay-mation creation (may be completed over several sessions).
10 minutes - Reflection (may be completed as homework).

Work through this resource material in the following sequence:

Preparation: Prior to this activity, ask students to read the Speciation

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What is artificial selection?


Read this factsheet (Speciation factsheet) and answer the questions below:

What did you find interesting about the information presented in this factsheet?

What did you already know?

What was new to you?

What questions does it leave you with?

Definitions - in your own words

In your own words, describe speciation:

In your own words, describe variation:

In your own words, describe isolation:

In your own words, describe natural selection:

Speciation activity

Have a look at the landscape below. As you will see there are a range of habitats there that might be suitable for habitation by different animals.

speciation forest labels2

landscape description 500

Now look at these two monkeys who live in this landscape. Considering the particular features of the two monkeys, decide where each monkey would most likely live and why and write your thoughts below:

monkeys description

Both monkeys are omnivorous, and apart from their arms, are the same colour and build.

1. Where do you

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