Evolving Minds: Children’s Learning of Natural Selection from Picture Books

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

Is it possible to foster a scientifically accurate and productive understanding of adaptation by natural selection in Grades K-2 by presenting classroom groups with a rudimentary but comprehensive version of the theory of natural selection using the simple pedagogical tool of picture storybooks? The purpose of this research is to determine the most effective components for such a classroom storybook intervention.


Children in K-2 public elementary school classrooms of the State of Massachusetts.

Research Design: 

This project has a cross-sectional research design and will generate evidence that is causal [experimental]. Original data are being collected on typically developing public elementary school children through assessments of learning and observation [personal observation]. The intervention being evaluated is reading children custom designed storybooks about adaptation. Instruments or measures include pre- and post-assessments comprising open- and close-ended questions tailored to the intervention materials. The analysis plan for this project involves the analysis of variance and regression.


Findings will be posted as they become available.

Publications & Presentations: 

A manuscript on preliminary results from an earlier work is in preparation.

Other Products: