Printer Friendly

LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

Core Idea

LS4:    Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

LS4.A: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity
LS4.B: Natural Selection
LS4.C: Adaptation
LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans

Content aligned with middle school LS4

Content aligned with high school LS4


In middle school, students develop an understanding of the disciplinary core ideas in the life science domain. The middle school performance expectations build on the elementary performance expectations, as well as on students’ prior knowledge of physical and Earth sciences. In LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity, performance expectations are designed for students to demonstrate an understanding of how organisms change over time in response to changes in the environment. Students should use scientific evidence to support their understanding of natural selection and evolution.


High school performance expectations in the life sciences expand on middle school performance expectations, allowing students to develop and refine their understanding of life science concepts. The high school performance expectations emphasize students’ proficiency in engaging in practices and using crosscutting concepts to organize and understand information while leaving room for more expanded and in-depth study in upper level high school courses. Performance expectations in high school LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity call for students to explore evidence of evolution and common ancestry. Students should be able to communicate and evaluate such evidence, as well as apply statistics and probability to explain trends in populations.


LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

Middle School

MS-LS4-1 Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.

MS-LS4-2 Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.

MS-LS4-3 Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the fully formed anatomy.

MS-LS4-4 Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.


LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

High School

HS-LS4-1 Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.


HS-LS4-4 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.

HS-LS4-5 Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.

Special Feature Type:

Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.