Natural selection is part of every state’s high school science standards, but that doesn’t mean we teachers are always successful in connecting our students with the topic. If your students are like mine, I’m sure you get some disconcerting responses when you ask them to explain how a feature of a species, like the dark color of peppered moths, could have evolved by natural selection. For example, one student wrote, “The moth most likely changed color due to the fact that its environment did as well.

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I have a few erasable white boards on my desk that I use to keep track of, well, everything. Although they are frequently commandeered by my 5-year-old to practice her letters, the boards do a pretty good job of reminding me of all I have to do. In one corner is a list of languishing blog topics. Among them, “Stated Clearly.” I can’t remember how these two words came to be on my to-blog list, but there they have sat for some time.

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Eileen Hynes is a teacher at Lake and Park School in Seattle, Washington. She is a member of NCSE’s teacher advisory board, a National Geographic Teacher Fellow, and a NOAA Climate Steward. 

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Way back last summer, I wrote a four-part Misconception Monday series on evolutionary trees (part 1, 2, 3, 4). What I couldn’t tell you back then was that the inspiration for the series was a new section of the incomparably fabulous Understanding Evolution (UE) site. At the time, the UCMP folks asked me to hold off on advertising the section until they got their evaluations back from external assessors. Grudgingly, I held off. Then, when the site went live in September, I was swamped and didn’t do what I should have done—loudly sing its praises on the blog. It’s true that some of my extra workload involved writing Evo in the News articles for the UE site, but I still feel pretty horrible that I haven’t championed its new triumph yet. My guilt ends today. Everyone, get ready for awesome and go explore The Tree Room!

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