Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES)

Learn About TIES

Our Mission

To provide middle school teachers the tools they need to effectively teach evolution and answer its critics based on new Next Generation Science Standards.

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Support our work by donating or shopping in our store and look smart with our t-shirts and other gear!

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TIES Workshop Walk-Through

The following links take you through an actual TIES Workshop. The focus is on Florida’s middle school science standards on evolution. In their latest report, the National Center for Science Education gave Florida a grade of A for its science standards on evolution.


By clicking the buttons below, you can watch students working through two hands-on activities on the topic of natural selection. Both activities can be downloaded below under the “Ready-to-Go Evolution Unit” tab.

Click here to view the Next Generation Science Standards on Natural Selection and Evolution for Middle School

Teacher Materials

Ready-to-Go Evolution Unit

All you need to effectively address your middle school evolution standards.

Bell-Ringer #1 (PDF)
Bell-Ringer #2 (DOCX)
Classroom Presentation with Teacher Guide in Notes Section (Powerpoint)
This Lab is For the Birds (DOC)
Evolution Exam (DOC)

Evolution Resources by Curriculum Standard

General Online Resources for Evolution

Understanding Evolution, University of California, Berkeley
Reading Guide for Understanding Evolution, UC Berkeley (DOC)
Online Educational Videos on Evolution and Science
NSTA Featured Lessons: Teaching Heredity and Evolution in the Next Generation
NSTA Learning Center
NGSS Life Science: Evolution and Natural Selection Lesson Plans
Stated Clearly [Videos] (The basics of Genetics and Evolution)
The 12 Days of Evolution Series (Videos)
From Land to Water: Whale Evolution Game
From Land to Water: Answer Key

Fact, Hypothesis, Law, and Theory

Fact vs Theory (Video)

Addressing Evolution Myths and Misconceptions

Myths and Misconceptions about Evolution (Video)

Evolution Explains Life’s Common Ancestry and Diversity

NOVA Lab Game
Evogeneao Interactive Tree of Life Explorer
One Zoom Tree of Life Explorer
The 12 Days of Evolution Series (Videos)
UC Berkeley’s The Tree Room for Teachers
Candy Phylogeny Lab (DOC)
Phylogenetics Presentation (PPT)

Geologic Timescale

Earth’s Entire History (Visualized on a Football Field)
Tattoo Timeline Activity

The History of Evolutionary Theory

Who was Charles Darwin?

Evolution Isn’t Perfect

The Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve and its Crazy Path in a Giraffe (Video)
Welcome to the Very Weird Human Convention
Clues to Prehistoric Times Found in Blind Cavefish (Video)

Natural Selection

Hands-on Investigations

This Lab is For the Birds (DOC)
Moth Simulation-Lab (DOCX) (See a science teacher trying out this lab with her students here)
Using the Telephone Game to Teach Natural Selection
HHMI’s Variations in the Clam Species Clamys sweetus

Online Games

Charles Darwin’s Game of Survival | Discovery Science
Science Education for Public Understanding Program’s Natural Selection Model
McGraw Hill Natural Selection Virtual Lab
PBS Build-a-Fish


Excellent and Simple Explanation of Natural Selection
Why are sloths so slow?
Harvard’s University The Evolution of Bacteria on a Mega-Plate Petri Dish
HHMI BioInteractive Video Galapagos Finch Evolution (We recommend you view this
after students do This Lab is for the Birds)
Stated Clearly-Natural Selection
Amoeba Sisters-Natural Selection
For more advanced students, we recommend HHMI’s The Biology of Skin Color

Evidence for Evolution

Rotation Lab

Fossils 101: How are Fossils Formed?
NCSE’s Fossils Everywhere!


UC Berkeley’s Evolibrary

Law of Superposition

What does the Law of Superposition Mean (Games and more)

Artificial Selection

The Amazing Siberian Fox Experiment (Video)

Vestigial Structures

Proof of Evolution that you can find on your body (Video)
PBS: How did Whales Evolve?

Similarities-Homologous Structures

NOVA Embryo Activity: Timing is Everything
Chromosome Comparison

Genes as Homologous Structures

Richard Dawkins-Comparing the Human and Chimpanzee Genomes
Kenneth Miller Explains Human Chromosome #2

Human Evolution

Smithsonian Human Origins Project
Skull Comparison Activity without the Expensive Skulls
“Teach Evolution Like a Boss” by Victoria Klahn (Video)

NGSS Middle School Standards Related to Evolutionary Science

Natural Selection and Adaptation
Growth, Development, and Reproduction of Organisms
Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

Addressing your Concerns as Science Teachers

The NSTA Position Statement on Evolution Education
Dealing With Objections
Common Misconceptions- Teacher FAQ

No Evolution Standards at your grade level? Integrate them!

Symbiosis Films and Lessons

For Spanish Speakers

Todo Sobre La Evolución

Join Our Ties Teacher Corps

Do you recognize the importance of evolutionary science in our modern society and want to educate future generations on its relevance? We are looking for science teachers who can volunteer to present workshops in their school districts and local colleges on their state science standards on evolution and natural selection.

Share Your Best Practices

Do you have a lab idea or lessons that work that you’d like to share?

Send your lessons and labs to Bertha Vazquez by clicking the button below and we will post them up on our site in the section at the bottom of the page.

Our fellow teachers are often our best resources.

Where We've Been

Webinar Schedule

Our Up and Coming 2019 Webinars

Watch all previous webinars below!


Meet the Director: Bertha Vazquez

Bertha Vazquez has been teaching middle school science in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for 24 years. She has BA in Biology from the University of Miami and a Master’s in Science Education from Florida International University. A seasoned traveler who has visited all seven continents, she enjoys introducing the world of nature and science to young, eager minds. An educator with National Board Certification, she is the recipient of several national and local honors, including the 2014 Samsung’s $150,000 Solve For Tomorrow Contest and The Charles C. Bartlett National Excellence in Environmental Award in 2009. She has been the Miami-Dade Science Teacher of the Year three times, in 1997, 2008, and 2017. She is the 2017 recipient of the National Association of Biology Teachers Evolution Education Award and is also one of Florida’s 2017 finalists for the most prestigious science award in the country, The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

In-Person Workshop Schedule

 Join us for a live, in-person workshop!

To register for a workshop, email Bertha Vazquez.

  • February 8, 2019: The 27th Annual SDSTA/SDCTM Joint Conference SD STEM Ed Conference, Crossroads Hotel & Events Center, Huron, SD, presented by Alison Bowers
  •  February 9, 2019: Celebrating Darwin Day at CFI, 9 AM – 12 PM, CFI Headquarters. Amherst, NY, presented by Bertha Vazquez
  • February 13, 2019: Presenting the New LA Evolution Standards, 3:45-5:45 PM, St. Landry Parish, Opelousas, LA, presented by Blake Touchet
  • February 15, 2019: GSTA Annual Conference, Columbus Georgia Convention and Trade Center, Columbus, GA, presented by Patti Howell
  • February 16, 2019: Celebrating Darwin Day at MOSI, Museum of Science and Industry, Tampa, Fl, presented by Kenny Coogan & John Mead
  • February 18, 2019: The 48th Annual HASTI Conference, STEM: Science Teachers Engaging Students, Wyndham Indianapolis-West, Indianapolis, presented by Jenna Sutton
  • March 2, 2019: MSTA 66th Annual Conference, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Grand Rapids, MI, presented by Cheryl Hach
  • March 8, 2019: The 2019 Wisconsin Society for Science Teachers Conference, (8:00-9:00 am) Monona Terrace Conference Center, Madison, WI, presented by Kathy Van Hoeck
  • March 23, 2018: Full-Day Event-Evolution for Educators. Come learn how to implement your new state science standards with engaging lessons and resources. Hogle Zoo, Salt Lake City, UT, presented by Kenny Coogan
  • March 29, 2019: Full-Day Event at the Weatherbee Planetarium, Thrnateeska Heritage Center, Albany, GA, presented by Patti Howell and Bertha Vazquez
  • April 6, 2019: Full-Day Event- Evolution for Educators at Zoo Montana, with guest speaker Dr. James Barron, Billings, MT, presented by Kenny Coogan
  • April 6, 2019: The 2019 Maine Science Teachers Association Conference, Session 4 (1:45-2:15pm) University of Maine Hutchinson Center, Belfast, ME, presented by Dr. Elizabeth Cowles
  • April 13 2019: NSTA Share-a-thon, 9:30-11:00AM, in Grand Ballroom D/E, Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch, presented by Jaime Kupfner
  • April 27, 2019: KATS KAMP, Kansas Cosmosphere, Hutchinson, KS, presented by Traci Richardson
  • July 16, 2019: Science on the Grand, Van Andel Science Education Institute, Grand Rapids, MI, presented by Rebecca Brewer
  • July 22, 2019: Evolution for Middle School Educators of KIPP DC Schools, Washington, DC, presented by Bertha Vazquez
  • October 25, 2019: Full-Day Evolution Extravaganza, Brandywine Zoo, Wilmington, DE, presented by Hannah Pretz and Bertha Vazquez

For a list of 2015-2018 workshops, click here.

View Previous Webinars

Meet a Living Fossil, with Dr. Scott Thomson
Apr 24, 2019 · 1 

powered by Crowdcast

Dr Jones Evolution of Human Skin Color
Dec 10, 2018

Genomic technologies have recently led to a dramatic increase in our understanding of relationships among early members of our species. With access to genetic markers that distinguish different populations, we have been able to reconstruct a much more accurate picture of migration out of Africa and the various paths our ancestors took on the way …

TIES Webinar: Jonathan Tweet, author of Grandmother Fish
Aug 13, 2018

Grandmother Fish is the first book to teach evolution to preschoolers, and School Library Journal calls it “groundbreaking.” The book engages young people by getting them to mimic the actions and sounds of our ancestors. They wiggle like Grandmother Fish and hoot like Grandmother Ape. The book is for ages 3–6, but teachers have also …

Our face-to-face professional development workshops & webinars for middle school science teachers are being offered across the United States by members of our TIES Teacher Corps. For more information about organizing a TIES workshop or webinar near you, please contact TIES director Bertha Vazquez

Please check back regularly for our updated webinar offerings and soon-to-be-added interactive learning modules.